Minimising mastitis and maximizing cow lifetime productivity

It is the second biggest cause of involuntary culling of dairy cows, and it can infect up to 50% of all dairy herds in the US and Europe: mastitis is a constant threat among dairy herds which can have expensive repercussions. Yet the good news is, it’s preventable and treatable in almost all cases. And that means that, in the majority of examples, there is no need to replace the animal in the herd, and no reason why that animal could not go on to be productive well past the usual average 2.5 lactations.

Mastitis occurs after bacteria has invaded the teat canal, releasing toxins that inflame and damage the milk-secreting tissue. Dirt or contamination through the milking machine are the likeliest causes of the initial bacteria, though damage can also be caused by injury and chemicals.

Two categories of mastitis

The condition can be classified in two categories, with the most obvious being clinical mastitis. In this case there are visible signs: in milder cases, the milk may appear watery or have clots; in more moderate cases the udder may show signs of swelling or heat. Severe mastitis will cause pain and, if left untreated lead to gangrenous infection.

By contrast, an animal with sub-clinical mastitis may have no visible signs: the cow will behave normally and the udder and the milk will appear OK. But even mild mastitis will affect milk quality, reducing the protein and calcium content. The only effective method of detection in the case of sub-clinical mastitis is regular checking of the somatic cell value: generally speaking, the higher the cell count, the lower the quality of the milk.

It is worth remembering that for every single case of clinical mastitis in the herd, there are probably five sub-clinical cases.

Treatment of mastitis is almost always possible

Prevention is better than cure. Treatment is almost always possible – given early detection – through long-acting antibiotics, although the milk from cows in treatment is not marketable until the traces of the drug have left the cow’s body. In addition, cows may develop resistance to certain antibiotics.

Instead, a rigorous hygiene program is the best way to avoid contamination. Teats should be disinfected after every milking; and all equipment and the general environment should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Bedding should be exchanged every two days.

For more detailed advice and help with mastitis, take a look at the following:–treatment/California-Mastitis-Test-CMT/California-Mastitis-Test-CMT/


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This entry was posted in All Posts, Animal Health, Cow Longevity, Farm Management, Milking. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Minimising mastitis and maximizing cow lifetime productivity

  1. Vikram says:

    Dear Team ,

    We are in the process of starting a dairy farm in Goa , India .

    We will be starting with 100 Cows / 25 Buffaloes and wish to take up the strenght to 500 cows within a 3 year period .

    At present we have identified 5 acres land for our project in , Goa .

    We wish to start with Dairy Automation from “day one” and would like to know more about Delavel Auomation of Dairy Farming .

    Mr Vishal Kuyate from your india office is in touch with us .

    We wish to have practical knowledge of Modern Dairy farming and wish to come to a study tour to your Farm In Hamra and also other Farms in Sweden using Delavel Products/ Technology .

    I will be visiting Barelona/ Germany on 17 to 23 November , Post which i can come to Sweden for Study Tour

    Kindly Revert at the earliest .


    • Blog editor says:

      Dear Vikram. How would you like us to help you? It appears that you are already in touch with our office in India. Best, Antonella

  2. Vikrant J Chavan says:

    Hi ,

    I am starting up an automised dairy project with 100 HF cows in (Maharashtra) India .
    Right now I am in Europe (Spain). I would like to visit some of your farms in Europe.
    Please can I have your emil address so I could contact you over mail.
    Planning to visit delaval farm by end September.
    Please reply and send me the email address

  3. RAGHAV says:

    I wish to start a dairy farm with 500 cows initially in the Punjab province of India. I would like to discuss the details.

  4. shailendra says:

    for 100 cow project price

    • Blog editor says:

      Hi there,
      thank you for contacting DeLaval. If you supply us with the name of the country you are from and an email that you would like to be contacted at, we would be happy to help you.