Mastitis in dairy cattle is an inflammation of the mammary tissue of the udder. This inflammation is caused by white blood cells (leukocytes) that are released into the udder. These white blood cells come into the udder when bacteria enter, usually through the teat canal. Once the bacteria have entered the udder they multiply and produce toxins that damage the milk secreting tissue and ducts in the udder. Some types of bacteria that can cause mastitis are:
 -Pseudomonas aeruginosa
 -Staphylococcus aureus
 -Staphylococcus epidermidis
 -Streptococcus agalactiae
 -Streptococcus uberis
 -Brucella melitensis
 -Corynebacterium bovis
 -Mycoplasma
 -Escherichia coli (E. coli)
 -Klebsiella pneumoniae
 -Klebsiella oxytoca
 -Enterobacter aerogenes
 -Pasteurella spp.
 -Trueperella pyogenes
 -Proteus spp.
 -Prototheca zopfii
 -Prototheca wickerhamii

Although bacteria are the most common reason for mastitis it may also occur from chemical, mechanical, or thermal injury.

Symptoms of mastitis is dairy cattle:
-Udder swelling
-Heat
-Redness
-Hardness
-Pain
-Abnormalities in the milk
  -watery apperance
  -flakes
  -clots
-Decrease in milk production
-Can have permanent tissue damage

There are 2 main classifications of mastitis, they are:
-Environmental Mastitis- caused by organisms like Escherichia coli that do not usually live on the skin or udder but enter the teat canal when the cow has been in contact with a contaminated environment. A contaminated environment can be found in feces in the bedding, in the feed, etc.
-Contagious Mastitis- caused by bacterial that live on the skin or in the udder of the cow. This type of mastitis can be transmitted from one cow to another during milking. There are three sub-categories of contagious mastitis, they are:
   -Clinical- show signs of inflammation (swelling, redness, pain). There are three sub-categories of clinical:
       -Peracute- see inflammation, decrease milk yield, changes in milk yield and systemic signs (fever, depression, shivering, loss of appetite and weight loss).
       -Acute- similar to peracute but fewer systemic signs, usually only fever and depression.
       -Sub-acute- minimal inflammation signs shown with no systemic signs.
    -Sub-clinical- see changes in milk composition but no signs of inflammation or milk abnormalities.
    -Chronic- see signs of inflammation for the matter of months and can also see from one lactation to another.  Often will appear as sub-clinical with occasional flare ups.

Treatment plans vary for each type of mastitis. Most types can be treated with long-acting antibiotics. When using these antibiotics the milk from the cow is unsaleable and needs to be discarded. Some antibiotics can be injected into the animal's body or with an intramammary infusion. Acute mastitis does require more attention and a veterinarian should be called. Drying off cows at the end of their lactation is a good way to cure sub-clinical mastitis. It is suggested to dry treat all cows to prevent new infections. Using intramammary infusions works best for clinical mastitis cases. Mastitis can be a costly problem on a dairy farm. If you are having problems with mastitis on your farm try one of these products.

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