Mastitis in dairy cattle

Forum: Mastitis, its impact on balance sheet of small holder and its control through effective management

Published on: 05/05/2009
Author/s : Hafiz Muhammad Wasi Khan, Consultant - DeLaval Pakistan
Creating awareness about mastitis and its management is really a great service to small scale livestock farmers. Mega dairy projects have their own effective strategy to keep their herd mastitis free while small scale farmer always suffer due to their ignorance and lack of capacity to understand this menace. In Pakistan as per a survey 25% milking animals are affected by mastitis in one way or t...
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May 5, 2009

I agree with Hafiz and that we need to create awareness as there is no other disease known to man with the magnitude and impact of MASTITIS. We also see in the US that the smaller the dairy the more the mastitis with the exception of key dairymen and the same is true for large dairies. The right Equipment, teat dip and the immune system of the cow are essential in eliminating mastitis.

S Murali S Murali
Product Manager
May 5, 2009
I agree with the article of Mr. Khan...

But at the same time using teat dip will spread disease from one quarter to other quarter, that the author must be knowing...

Moreover, Iodine preparations are very weak in bactericidal effect and even those iodine can be MORE effective when it is used as spray not as dip.

Disadvantages of using teat dip:

Teat dip will lead to cross contamination of dipping solution.
Teat dip will spread disease from one quarter to another quarter (Infected to Healthy qtr).
Teat dip also often replaced and hence it is costlier than teat sprayers.

There are few more ayurvedic preparations available which does not leave any residues in the milk and milk wil be fit for exports.


S. Murali
Khalid Mahmood Shouq Khalid Mahmood Shouq
D.V.M Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
May 5, 2009

Any simple disinfectant (like detole) mixed in water and washing the udder post milking is the best measure to control mastitis... poor farmers needs cheap and easily available, simple disinfectant ...

May 6, 2009

I agree with the author that prevention is very important to save the animals from mastitis. Some of the practical approaches done by the progressive dairy farmers in India are: using teat dip, keeping the animals engaged in feeding after milking (this prevents entry of bacteria from ground), milk the affected animals at the end of milking (all the cows). Dairy owners observe that these practices reduces the incidences of mastitis in their herd.

Thanks and regards,


May 6, 2009

Article is good. Mastitis is a major problem all over world, as it causes huge losses. Mr. Khan has mentioned SURF TEST. Will you please give details on this test.

Ravinder Grewal Ravinder Grewal
Animal Nutritionist
May 6, 2009

About 1/3rd cases of mastitis occur during first ten days of calving. Nutrients like vit E, micro minerals, etc plays very important role in occurence of mastitis. Povidine mixed with double the quantity of glycerine makes a very effective and economical teat dip.

Muhammad Nawaz Ali Muhammad Nawaz Ali
B.S Biotechnologist And Informaticst
February 13, 2010

Mastitis or seem for me a type of breast fistula.Is offcourse a challange both for Animal welfare and quality asurance of Milk , but i am commenting on the Bioethic bases.Because of my Biotechnology & Informatics background.Currently i have read a lot on this issue and one aspect which i think should must be mentioned before my appreciation on such a good work by author.., is that our Utaliterian enthausiasm and need for increased milk requirment also allivate this mishappen being a responsible conduct of reasearch it is highly demand of Responsible conduct in research is the matter of more consideration among scientific commuinity too beside social implication ,mastitus cow disease was observed in GMOs for high milk production in coountry of UK. Beside individual gene cloning ,artificial insemination and traditional selective breading also are the key factors for the outbreake of this illness.So animal welfare is not considered first we must eaducate students ,and vetrenarian for the draw abacks of these technologies.Sorry for late comments and thanks for all of you.

March 4, 2010

Yes, the management is more important in controlling the Mastitis. Firs we investigate the reasons of high frequancy of Masitits. It is fact that Mastits significantly occured during the dry period when animals are not looked after properly. Animal stayb away from owners eye and live in bad environment with every chance of incidences of Mastitis. Animals are only brought to milking shed 1 week before calving. Meantime, one or two teats have already got Mastitis. In small herd this practice is more common due to owners neglegence. In large herds situation is little better due to the more man power better housing. Even in advanced conuntries M is the major problem but there reasons are different (Genetic, stray voltage etc). The traning of labour and availability of necessary inputs are very important to control. Even at large herds, the sanitation conditions are not satisfactory. If one teats damage caused around 25[percent] loss in production and income. Therefore few M animals can put farm in negative balance sheet.

Dr.Durgesh Gupta Dr.Durgesh Gupta
March 7, 2010
Definately,it is nothing but a managemental fault,bz specially when we talk about small holder they are not aware about the scientific cleaning of the udder and teat as well,teat dip like tools are beneficial but when we use it for a long period than causing agents get resistance for that chemical,so suggestion is to change it in every 15 days.
when we neglect the case than many time teat become blind and some time mortality is reported in peracute case.this will definately loss the farm economics.
March 8, 2010

There is no doubt that mastitis is the most important problem of dairy farms. As we all know that milk is suitable enviroment for bacterial growth and if we do not have appropriate udder health measures and milking management , mastitis is inevitable result.
First consideration for general mastitis control is we should provide our cows enough, comfortable and clean barn place to lay down. After milking udder needs about 20-30 minutes to close its tips which is open to infectious agents during this time. We can feed our cows just after milking to prevent possible laying down and contamination.
Another consideration is proper milking management and early detection of mastitis can prevent possible outbreaks in your herd. In order to succeed this we should test our cows with CMT in monthly basis to identify subacute mastitis cows and treat them. If you have periodic Somatic cell count(SCC) and Total bacteria count ( TBC) results these results can give you tips about your herd’s udder health level..
Suitable milking equipment and trained milking staff also very important for your mastitis control program. Pre and post milking procedures should be carried properly. Before milking udders should be cleaned and dried then teats controlled for possible mastitis symptoms. Milking should be carried on with appropriate vacuum. After milking udder should be controlled again for retained milk and dysinfected with suitable dysinfectan agents by teat dipping or springs. It is advisable do not use water soluble agents in cold weather conditions to prevent possible freezing on teat. In winter conditions foam and creme forms can be used.
As we know protection measures is always easier and cheaper way than treatment programs.
My Regards.

April 9, 2010

Dear All

what are the other soulation ( Local or Traditional) for the treatment of cows agasint mastitis instead of Antiboitc for severe mastitis

October 6, 2010

Mastitis in good dairy farm it is problem of management and hygienical problem

October 7, 2010

I agree with Mr. Khan that mastitis should be diagnosed at a very early stage so that it can be treated on time and prevent further losses occurring.
But the main problem with our small dairy holders is that the treatment of mastitis is very costly and even after diagnosing the condition in its early stages the dairy holders don’t give proper treatment and instead wait for the mastitis to recover by itself or use indigenous medications. Our goal should be to introduce a low priced and effective medication for mastitis so that each farmer can easily buy and use it

Aravinth Aravinth
Veterinary Doctor
November 8, 2011

It is a good article pertain to mastitis. Kindly give better clarity on SURF test. The methods principles and procedure.

Thanking you.

Jasmer Singh Jasmer Singh
January 24, 2012

Dr Aravinth VO
Regarding diagnosis the instant and on the spot diagnostic of mastitis is very simple, cheap and most reliable.
The normal pH of milk is ~6.5 and the mastitic milk is always high and may range from 7.0 onwards and go up to 9.0. Hense, monitoring of pH i mastitis is very crucial and can be easily done with graded pH papers or a pen pH mteter on the spot and treatment can be started immediately. The basis of this test are that citrate content in milk is very essential in the maintainance of H+ and equiliberate the pH of milk at normal level i.e., ~6.5. Whenever ther is disturbance in synthesis of citrate in the udder the tight junctions between milk and blood become compromised and leaky and bringing the milk pH equivalent to that of blood (7.4) or even higher. This results due to the inefficency of the moderator effect of lowered levels of citrate in udder and formationof flakes due to clumping of free calcium which injures the secretory epithelium. If the injury is of greater intensity there may be blood mixed with milk or frank blood from the affected quarter and the pH may shoot up to 8-9.0. Therefor, the instant treatment with tri-Sodium citrate orally or I/V gives best control from mastitis by restoring the normal pH of the uddder. Moreover, at this normal pH of 6.50 the commonly isolated pathogens are scavenged from the udder and the normal millieus is preserved.

Dr. Jasmer Singh (Rtd. Prof. from PAU, Ludhiana, Punjab, India)

January 26, 2012

Surf is a commercial name of washing powder of a multinational co. However any washing powder available in the area can be used to judge the presence of mastitis in milk. This is the cheapest way and can be done by any farmer as washing powders are easily available even in villages. This is not complete test but it is a sure way to indicate the presence of the disease. It will not tell the intensity of the disease for which a farmer will have to go to lab once presence is confirmed through this test.
1. Prepare 3% solution of surf(washing powder)
2.Take 2ml of this solution and mix it with same quantity of milk to be tested
3.Precipitation or thick jelly like substance will confirm the presence of disease
4.It can be done on milk recieved from individual quarters of the udder also.

Jasmer Singh Jasmer Singh
January 26, 2012
Test for mastitis in dairy animals:

The basis of Mastaid test, Surf test etc., is the pH of milk from the udder. This is due to the fact that pH of normal milk is arround 6.5 while the mastitic milk pH is always higher i.e., 7.0 - 9.0 ( alkaline). The change of pH towards alkalanity is due to the increase in the leukocyte numbers which follows the degree of infection in a particular quarter(s) and subsequent chemotactic activity of body defense cells. This activity comes into play only when any injury is inflicted within the udder and the tight junctions between blood and milk becomes leaky. Under normal healthy conditions these tight junctions remain tightly closed durring lactation and become compromised after injury inflicted by fre Ca++ which consequently establish environmental pathogens setting-up inflammatory reaction resulting in the body defense activity particularly polymorphonuclear cells(PMN). Hence, the graded pH papers are the most easily available and cheap with good reliability to indicate approximatly the extent of subclinical or clinical mastitis and can be performed on the spot and for follow-up action to monitor treatment effects.

Jasmer Singh PAU, Ludhiana
February 15, 2012

it is really very good article in mastitis control in field condition help to reduce the cost therapy in field apart from avoid quantity of milk disposal because of antibiotic residual unfit for human consumption

Dr. MD. Ali Asgar Khan Dr. MD. Ali Asgar Khan
Ph.D in Dairy Science, Post Doc in Animal Breeding
June 26, 2012
It is really a nice topic. After milking calf teat remaining open until two hours so, It is better to manage cow during this period that cow does not contact with floor by giving feed in front of cow.
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