Mastitis Control

Large Animals​ - Mastitis Control

(a) It is important that you get your milking machine checked by a qualified (MPTA) technician and have all faults corrected.

(b) Teat Spraying is a MAJOR part of mastitis control; many cows are infected just after milking is over. Research indicates an iodine teat spray for ALL seasons is best with about 15% emollient. This is especially when cows are on muddy paddocks, stand-off pads or herd homes.

(c) Treat and Record Clinical Cases:

  • It is most important to FIND MASTITIS COWS EARLY and treat and record them. This means that when the BMSCC is high you have to be constantly checking and looking for early signs of mastitis. This may mean stripping one quarter every day… If you don’t look for it, then you probably won’t find it.
  • Always check cows after they calve, strip the colostrums regularly and always before they leave the colostrum mob. Keep them in a few days longer if they are Paddle-test or strip positive …many will self cure.
  • Milk Samples for bacteria culture is really valuable…just take a sterile sample and label it and store it in the freezer.
  • In the Dry period, treat mastitis cases as you would if they were milking eg orbenin LA or mastalone.
  • During lactation, as a first treatment, use 3 lactation intramammaries (80% will clear with 3 syringes).
  • For severe cases or recurrent cows use EXTENDED THERAPY (these are the other 20% with deeper infections). Cure rates improve markedly in these difficult cases (but remember that after 3 repeat mastitis cases in a cow, the chance of cure is less than 10%...remember the abscesses).
  • For multiple quarters, it is more economic to use injectable (Tylovet).


(d) Cull Repeat Mastitis & Chronic High SCC:

  • ALWAYS try DCT on a cow at least ONCE before culling, especially a young cow.
  • Correct culling is crucial to good mastitis control. Keeping chronic infected cows will keep your BMSCC high and infect young clean cows.
  • Cull repeat mastitis cases if possible, especially if they are repeat high SCC.
  • Cows previously treated with DC therapy and have high SCC (>800,000) this season should be culled if numbers allow.
  • Other high risk factors (eg. poor udder conformation).


(e) Dry Cow Therapy:

DCT is only part of mastitis control but it is vital.

Why use DCT? Research has clearly shown that cows undergo high levels of intramammary infection (IMI) in the first 2 weeks after Drying Off and then again in the 2 weeks just before they calve...so these are the times that they need most protection. NZ work shows that up to 50% of cows have not formed a teat plug by 7 days and 5% never form one. Every cow is challenged by infection whether she is a high or low SCC cow. In most of these cows this infection does not show as clinical mastitis in the dry period but then mastitis breaks out once they start producing milk at calving.

Either: WHOLE HERD therapy with or without Teatseal is the optimum way to protect cows during the dry period, as it helps cure high SCC cows and protects low SCC cows (in Canterbury herds it reduced mastitis by half).

Or: the next best is SELECTIVE therapy as in the SAMM Plan: treat all cows over 150,000 & heifers over 120,000.

Mastitis at calving: 

  • Recent trials have shown a 33 - 50% reduction in mastitis in the first 100 days by using teatseal in conjunction with DCT.
  • In heifers Teatseal has been shown to reduce post calving mastitis in heifers by 50%. -this trial work also showed that putting heifers and cows into the colostrum herd asap (less than 12 hours) after calving reduced mastitis by 50%.