This resource describes the approaches for treatment and control of mastitis.

Mastitis Treatment

Antibiotic treatment: Typically when clinical mastitis is detected, the cow is milked out and then given an intramammary infusion of antibiotic, ie. infused directly into the infected gland. Clinical mastitis symptoms are indicated in the Mastitis Clinical Syndromes resource, but most often are recognized by the milker from detection of clots or flakes in the milk, from a cow that has a quarter sensitive to the touch (she kicks a lot when you touch a particular quarter), a quarter that is swollen or hot to the touch. Because the cow’s udder then contains antibiotics which must be kept out of the food supply, that cow’s milk must not be put into the milk tank for some specified number of milkings after treatment. Typically this milk is either dumped down the drain or used to feed calves. Clear identification of the treated cow is critical to be sure the cow’s milk is not inadvertently put into the milk tank. Shipping milk contaminated with antibiotics can lead the producer to lose their permit to ship Grade A milk; that is they are out of business. use of leg-bands or some other physical marker on the cow, as well as clear records of antibiotic administration are essential for this process. It is quite common for a cow to be treated multiple milkings with the antibiotics.

Oxytocin treatment: A key contributing factor to duration of mastitis is the frequency and completeness of milk removal from the infected quarter. In some cases, cows are stripped between normal milking times, sometimes with injection of oxytocin to stimulate an effective milk let down. Clearly removal of the primary growth medium of the bacteria, the milk, more often should enhance rate of recovery from infection.

Non-responding cases: Inspite of the natural resistance mechanisms of the cow, antibiotic treatment to help her fight bacterial infection, and other methods such as frequently stripping out the milk, some cows are unable to elimiate the infection. These are often considered to be chronically infected cows, typically with Staph. aureus, and remain a constant source of infection for other cows. Culling of chronically infected cows sometimes is the only way to effectively control spread of mastitis in the herd.

IODINE diluted 1 liter of drug/100-250ml liters of water, sprayed onto the surface are cages and the equipment used in livestock. 1-2 times/week, 2-3 continuous weeks.

You may use KETOCEF during milking.

Control of Mastitis

Awareness of the economic losses associated with mastitis is resulting in a desire for mastitis control programs. Control programs are focused on detection of mastitis (by the above methods), identification of the causative agent(s) and prevention of transmission by removing the source of the agent (milk contaminated fomites, bedding, persistently infected cows, etc.). Knowledge of mammary anatomy and physiology, mammary defense mechanism, microbial habitats, microbial virulence factors, milking machine function, and antibiotics/germicides is important in achieving effective mastitis control.

Control of Contagious Mastitis : Contagious mastitis can be effectively controlled through a rigorous program of teat dipping and dry cow antibiotic treatment. Teats must be dipped in germicide after each milking (this decreases incidence of the disease). Each quarter must be treated with dry cow antibiotics at end of lactation (this decreases prevalence of the disease). Cows with contagious mastitis should be milked last or a separate milking claw used for the infected cows. Milking claws should be flushed with hot water or germicide after milking infected cows (called backflushing). Individual cloth/paper towels should be used to wash/dry teats. Milkers should have clean hands and wear latex gloves. New additions to the herd should be cultured and persistently infected cows should be culled. Teat lesions should be minimized (from chapping, frostbite, stepped-on teats, lacerations, or machine damage). Heifers can be given dry cow antibiotic treatment during gestation if S. aureus is a problem in the heifers.

Control of Environmental Mastitis : Environmental pathogens are more difficult to control than the contagious pathogens. Many of these organisms are resistant to germicides in teat dip and antibiotics in dry cow therapy. Identification of the source and removal (bedding, ponds, mud) is the key to control. Udders can be clipped to minimize the amount of manure clinging to the glands. Only clean dry teats should be milked. Teats should be pre-dipped with germicide before milking. Cows should be kept standing after milking (offer them feed). Sterile single-dose infusion products should be used and sterile infusion techniques (alcohol swab) should be used. The milking parlor should be kept clean. The teat dipper should be kept clean; organisms an survive in many germicides. Pipelines/water heater may need to be replaced in cases of Pseudomonas contamination.


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