Know the Facts on Mastitis

Mastitis is the most common disease found in dairy cows and also the primary cause for the use of antibiotics in these animals. Economic losses
due to mastitis are an ongoing threat for Canadian producers, but understanding the disease and different treatment options can help to mitigate the risk.

Did You Know?

Most Intramammary Infections Show No Clinical Signs

A 100-cow herd will be challenged with 2400 intramammary infections per year but will only suffer from 20 clinical mastitis. That means that most of the time, the cows clear the infection without showing any clinical signs.1

Watch for Algae

Even algae can cause mastitis in cows. Prototheca has been identified in 6% of Canadian farms.2

Antibiotic Use

Mastitis treatment is the most frequent use of antibiotic use in adult cattle. A study reported that 48% of antibiotics prescribed to adult cattle are for mastitis.3

Antibiotics Often Not Required

40% of milk culture tests performed on clinical mastitis show no growth. That means that the bacteria is no longer present and that antibiotics are not required.4

Decreased reproductive performance

Mastitis has a negative impact on reproductive performance. It delays pregnancy.5

Vaccinate Against E-Coli

Vaccines exist for some strains of bacterial mastitis. J-Vac® helps prevent clinical mastitis caused by E-coli.6

High Risk Periods

Cows are at a higher risk of developing mastitis during certain periods of their lactation cycle. At dry-off and around calving, cows are at a 4-6 times higher risk of developing clinical mastitis.7

Somatic Cell Count

When we talk about a cow’s milk somatic cell count (SCC), we are actually talking about white blood cells. SCC is a marker of the cow immune response, not of the presence of bacteria.8

Contagious Milking Process

Staphylococcus. aureus can cause chronic mastitis. It is also contagious and can be transmitted from cow to cow, in particular during the milking process.9

Mastitis is Painful

It has been measured that the swelling of the udder during acute mastitis causes discomfort to the cow.10

References

  1. 1  Data from CBMQRN 2007-2008 for Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network
  2. 2  Canadian National Dairy Study: Herd-level milk quality. Bauman CA, Barkema HW, Dubuc J, Keefe GP, Kelton DF.J Dairy Sci. 2018 Mar;101(3):2679‍-‍2691
  3. 3  Adapted from: Bauman CA et al. Canadian National Dairy Study: Herd-level milk quality. J Dairy Sci. 2018 Mar;101(3):2679‍-‍2691.
  4. 4  Data from CBMQRN 2007-2008 for Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network
  5. 5  More services per conception (Barker et al., 1998; Schrick et al., 2001), lower conception rates (Santos et al., 2004; Lavon et al., 2011), and a higher risk of embryo loss (Chebel et al., 2004; McDougall et al., 2005)
  6. 6  Canadian Label for J-VAC.
  7. 7  Communication CBMQRN 2007-2008 for Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network
  8. 8  National Mastitis Council publication: Current concepts of bovine mastitis 5th Ed- 2016
  9. 9  National Mastitis Council publication: Current concepts of bovine mastitis 5th Ed- 2016
  10. 10  Fitzpatrick CE et al. The effect of meloxicam on pain sensitivity, rumination time, and clinical signs in dairy cows with endotoxin-induced clinical mastitis. J Dairy Sci. 2013 May;96(5):2847-56.