Mastitis is not a mystery disease. It occurs when bacteria get into the quarter, through the teat end. These bacteria multiply and cause inflammation and infection. The cow’s immune response to this infection results in an increase in the somatic cell count (SCC) of that quarter, and sometimes clinical signs. The bacteria come from 2 main sources -other cows, and the environment. Reducing the number of bacteria at the teat ends reduces the risk of mastitis.
1. Milk clean cows
- Clip tails and udders
- Put cups on clean, dry teats. Teats may not be as clean as usual because of current conditions….if so, wash and dry them!
2. Clean up your act!
- Wear clean gloves when milking
- Wear clean overalls and aprons for milking.
3. Work in clean surroundings
- Keep the parlour clean during milking-be careful with that hose while the cows are still there, or you will create a shower of bacteria!
- Clean concrete yards between each milking to ensure cow standing areas are clean
- If cows are being housed, even for short periods of time, don’t forget to clean and lime cubicles and mats daily
For more tips on reducing the risk of mastitis see the CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control, particularly Guidelines 1, 8, 27 & Management Note L. AHI gratefully acknowledges the financial and other contributions of Teagasc and our other stakeholders to the CellCheck programme.