Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland which is usually associated with an intra-mammary infection. It is caused by several types of bacteria, like E. coli or Staphylococcus aureus, although it can also be caused by some fungus species, microplasms, yeasts and viruses.
It is one of the most common and costly illnesses in the dairy industry.
Milking method (manual or automatic)
Hygiene of the milking mechanisms
Hygiene of the livestock farmer
Cow’s no. of births
Main Causal Agents
Type of Mastitis
Mastitis caused by E. coli Peracute
Udder, Skin Contagion
High or Very High
Udder / Skin
Environmental / Poor Hygiene
Acute or Chronic Clinical Mastitis
The organisms that cause mastitis live in different environments (fecal matter, bedding, skin, etc.). The primary source of contagion is contact with the infected mammary gland, mostly through milking machines, employees’ hands and nursing calves who have contact with the infected udders.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
We distinguish between:
- Clinical mastitis: Inflammation and pain at the udder, altered milk (due to the presence of coagulates, peeling, discolored whey and at times blood)
- Subclinical mastitis: The cow seems healthy, the udder shows no sign of inflammation and the milk seems normal. However, there is a large number of microorganisms and white blood cells in the milk (somatic cells) that are combatting the infections.
- Acute mastitis: fever, racing pulse, loss of appetite, acute drop in milk production.