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Treatment of Mastitis

Treatment of mastitis

A new clinical mastitis case developing during the lactation should be treated promptly, when first detected, with a full course of lactating cow antibiotics. Rapid detection and treatment of cases means that fewer further clinical infections develop, and there is less chance of infection being passed to other cows. Also, early detection and treatment increases the chances of a cure because at that point, the bacteria are in a rapidly multiplying state and are most susceptible to antibiotics and there is less swelling and fewer clots to block access of the infused antibiotic.

If information is available about the type of bacteria causing the infection, then this should be discussed with the veterinarian with a view to a recommendation for the appropriate antibiotic to be used.

mastitis infections

When treating cows with intramammary antibiotics the procedure used should be as follows:

  • Milk out the quarter fully before infusing the antibiotic
  • Disinfect the teat end by vigorously rubbing the teat end for 10 to 15 s with cotton wool soaked in methylated spirits
  • Avoid contamination of the nozzle of the antibiotic tube before insertion into the teat canal
  • Partially insert (or use short nozzle if supplied) the antibiotic tube nozzle into the teat canal (this is advisable in order to minimize dilation and ensure rapid closure of the teat canal)
  • Infuse the contents of the antibiotic tube into the infected quarter – hold teat-end firmly between thumb and forefinger and with other hand, gently massage the antibiotic upwards into the teat
  • Teat spray (post milking teat disinfect) treated quarters immediately after infusion
  • Clearly mark the treated cow and treated quarter, e.g. ratchet-type plastic tags or velcro bands above the hocks or on the legs of the cow and spray paint on the udder or legs of the cow
  • Milk must be withheld from the normal milk supply from the commencement of treatment until the end of the recommended withholding period stated on the label
  • The treatment details should be recorded on a chart at the parlour so that other milkers may check treatment details and milk discarding period

Take steps to minimize risk of transfer of infection at milking time

  • If milking facility layout allows, it is preferable to draft out high SCC and clinical cows to milk them last in the herd
  • If not possible to milk such cows last, then sanitize the cluster by dipping it in a disinfecting solution after milking the infected cow to prevent infection transfer to other cows
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