Mastitis is a disease of the milk gland (udder) of the cow. It is the costliest disease in dairy cattle, causing reduced milk production and, sometimes, death.
It is mainly caused by bacteria, which affect one or more sections of the udder.
The occurrence of mastitis is greater in closely confined dairy cattle.
Micro-organisms thrive in dark, wet, warm cattle yards. When the dairy cattle lie down to rest, the bacteria can enter the teat when the udder is full of milk.
Micro-organisms can then enter the teat canal, which leads to mastitis. Dairy Cattle with udders that show obvious signs of mastitis should be separated from others and treated with antibiotics.
Treatment of mastitis should always be done under the guidance of a qualified person, preferably, a vet and the procedure should be as follows. Disinfect the teat end with alcohol and infuse a tube of mastitis antibiotic through the teat canal.
The vet may decide to give an injection of a combination of penicillin, dihydrostreptomycin, dexamethasone and an antihistamine.
The antibiotics should affect the micro-organisms and the dexamethasone and antihistamine should help the tissue heal and reduce inflammation.
Detection of mastitis will aid the successful treatment of the sick cow. You can detect it by using the strip test. This is done by stripping a few streams of milk onto the floor of the milking parlour or for hygienic reasons, it is better to use a strip cup.
The presence of clots, a clear watery liquid or blood in the milk is an indicator of mastitis.
Treat mastitis as soon as you are able to detect it. Infusion of an antibiotic preparation into the teat canal is the normal treatment. In severe cases, systemic treatment may be performed on recommendation of a veterinary doctor.
You must properly dispose of milk for some days (withdrawal period) after any antibiotic treatment.
The withdrawal period for antibiotics vary, yet this information should be clearly stated on the product.
Always consult a vet for the right product to be used in treatment.