Mastitis in Cattle | Dechra UK

Mastitis in dairy cattle

With the increasing milk yield of cows, the number of problems that farmers and veterinarians face daily has also increased. Bovine mastitis is one of them.

Mastitis in dairy cows brings significant economic losses to the herds. It contributes to decreased milk yield, treatment and labour costs, higher culling rate with a major impact on cattle welfare.

Mastitis management requires multifaceted actions and is based on 4 main pillars:

  1. the milking system
  2. the milking routine
  3. the environment
  4. the health of the mammary gland, i.e., monitoring the somatic cell count in individual cows and on herd level, prevention, diagnosis, tailored treatment, dry-off management.

Integrated approach

Pain management in Cattle - Dechra's integrated approach

Causes of mastitis

With the transition towards larger farms and comfort zone free stalls the infectious pathways for mastitis have changed. Especially the transition and fresh cow period is a pivotal phase not only for the animal, but also for keeping mastitis under control. Keeping a close eye on cows during the first months of lactation and optimizing their direct environment is going to improve the overall farm performance.

Identifying mastitis

Diagnosing lead mastitis pathogens per farm plays a pivotal role in making precise treatment decisions. Frequent screening for pathogens and documentation of susceptibility allow to detect trends and shifts early. This way you can adapt farm individual treatment protocols according to changes and identify infectious chains on farm.

Treatment of mastitis

Successful and precise mastitis treatment depends on pathogen identification and the selection of the right active substance for the right animal. As a general rule of thumb fresh lactation cows have higher cure rates than late lactation cows – especially with cow related pathogens: Find fresh infected cows and treat them thoroughly is key for responsible use of antibiotics.

Correct milk sampling technique is key to the proper diagnosis. Knowing the causative agent and its susceptibility is crucial to choose the right treatment. Collecting all the data on the herd level helps to develop the treatment protocol which will meet the needs of the specific farm. Developing treatment protocols and knowing the most common pathogens ensures quick action is taking regard to the treatment.

The standard approach can be later verified based on the lab results and modified if needed. Tailored treatment is essential, but other factors are also very important. Actions taken by a veterinarian require the support and willingness of a farmer to make changes if that is the case. These changes may include consistent milking routine, milking system inspection and implementation of advised improvements, adjusted nutrition, culling the animals which are unlikely to recover and environmental control measures.

Final success depends on close cooperation of the farmer and the vet since multiple actions need to be taken to control the mastitis problem on the farm.

For chronic and acute mastitis we have a strong focus on precise and effective treatment to facilitate responsible use of antibiotics and to treat only when medically necessary. Flexible and convenient applications of our products make it easier and more convenient for vets, farmers and patients. Dechra supports the “One Health” principle. We want to strengthen the position of cattle vets and farmers in combating antimicrobial resistance together with knowledge, practical tools and diagnostic support.

Besides manufacturing high quality modern veterinary medicines, we also provide useful tips and tools that you can discuss with your veterinarian.