Mastitis : are we over Treating ?

I normally say that” the best deterrent we have against mastitis is a shovel and a scrapper “I get very peculiar looks “. Keep cubicles and alleyways clean this includes the corners under gates and ends , and you’re going some way to reduce the risk for mastitis, I also point out use of good pre-treatment and pre-milking hygiene, these are going to reduce it still further .

You can group mastitis a couple of ways–contagious or environmental. So contagious means it spreads at cow to cow at milking time. Environmental bacteria live outside most of the time, bedding stalls, pastures, water troughs, puddles dirty units , clusters ,hands etc .

There are three grades of mastitis – mild, moderate and severe. The clinical signs for gram-positive and gram-negative mastitis are very similar but these pathogens behave differently within the udder.
Gram positives, without treatment may be chronic. Very often, they’re subclinical for a while before they become clinical, and we know antibiotics will make a difference in those cases with gram negatives, these are usually short-term. Cows are really good at identifying those infections and are mostly self-curing. And most of the time those cows don’t need treatment.

The aim of intramammary therapy is to help eradicate bacterial infection. Frequently treatment begins immediately after visual detection of abnormal milk. On many farms, clinical cases are often treated for about five days, many times without the benefit of a bacterial diagnosis. This means lengthy therapy has become the industry norm.

Dairy Farmers are habituated to treat the quarter until the milk returns to normal however In many cases this is not practical and sensible use of antimicrobials, because the bacteria causing the infection is often eliminated early in the process.

The objective with mastitis is to treat the infection, not the inflammation.
Inflammation does not necessarily mean infection every time.

The answer may lie in an on-farm culture. On-farm cultures can often identify the existence of infection and the type of bacteria causing the infection, so we have more control and responsible use of antibiotics.