Mastitis in Dairy Cows | Best Way to Treat Mastitis in Dairy Cows

Mastitis in Dairy Cows

Mastitis is a common problem in cows and buffaloes, infact it is reported that every 5th cow/buffaloe is infected with mastitis. Mastitis can cause huge economic losses to dairy farmers by decreasing the milk quantity and quality. So it needs to be treated. There are various ways to treat Mastitis in dairy cows but here we will enlist some best ways to treat Mastitis in Dairy cows. Before going into the treatment of mastitis, first, have a brief look at what is mastitis and its predisposing factors. If you already know then you can skip to your desired heading by scrolling down or by clicking on the table contents.

What is Mastitis:

Mastitis is the inflammation of the mammary gland due to some sort of injury or infection. It is actually an immune response by the body to neutralize the pathogens that cause the mastitis and thus preparing the body to come back to its normal function.

Cause of Mastitis in Dairy Cows:

The cause of Mastitis in dairy cows may vary and it may be due to some injury to the udder tissue while lying on the ground or it may happen that some sort of needle pricks in the udder of the animal. The other cause is, maybe due to the entry of pathogens like bacteria, etc. Sometimes mastitis also develops in such diseases that involve teats e.g FMD. There are a lot of bacterial pathogens that cause mastitis. These pathogens are listed below:

We can divide these bacteria into 5 types because some bacteria are contagious means they spread from one infected animal to a healthy one while milking or by milking equipment or by the hand of a milkmaid etc. Some bacteria are environmental pathogens means they commonly reside in the environment and there are greater chances of their entry into the teat canal if the bedding of the dairy cows is not hygiene.

There are some bacteria that are opportunistic pathogens means they only cause mastitis if they get a chance otherwise they are not mastitis-causing bacteria. Some bacteria are endogenous as well.

Staphylococcus aureusStreptococcus uberisStaphylococcus species other than S. aureusMycobacterium bovis
Streptococcus agalactiaeTreptococcus dysgalactiaeS. hyicusMycobacterium tuberculosis
Mycoplasma bovisStreptococcus fecalisS. epidermidisLeptospira spp.
Pasturella spp.Escherichia coli  
 Klebsiella spp.  

Mastitis in Cows vs Buffaloes:

Mastitis is more common in dairy cows than in dairy buffaloes because the cows have loose sphincter in teats so there are greater chances of the entry of bacteria into the teat canal.

Clinical Signs of Mastitis in Dairy Cows:

The clinical signs are related to inflammation like redness, heat, pain, swelling of the udder. Animal gets fever due to infection. But in most cases, the signs are not visible and hidden and such type of mastitis is known as sub-clinical mastitis. It is difficult to diagnose sub-clinical mastitis. We can check for SCC ( somatic cell count ) in milk. General signs of Mastitis in dairy cows are

  • Swelling of udder
  • Redness of mammary gland
  • Fibrosis may develop
  • Decrease in milk quality and quantity
  • Change in udder color and consistency
  • The watery appearance of milk
fibrosis of udder in mastitis in cows
Fibrosis of udder
decrease in milk quantity in mastitis in dairy cows
Decrease in milk quality and quantity

Types of Mastitis:

On the basis of the severity of signs of mastitis, the mastitis can be divided into the following types

Color changeYesNot noticeable    Persistence  Little
Consistency ChangeYes  
Inflammation Not noticeableSevereSevereMildRecurrent attacks
Somatic Cell Count High    
Systemic Reactions  MarkedMild to moderate  

Consequences of Mastitis:

Due to mastitis, as I mentioned earlier, the animal and the farmer both suffer the losses and such losses are:

  • Decrease in milk yield
  • Shorten lactational length
  • Milk quality and Quantity decrease
  • Culling of a chronically infected animal
  • Cost for treatment and other protocols for prevention

How Milk Quality is affected?

The milk of those animals that are infected with mastitis has a high concentration of sodium and chloride in it. Secondly, in the case of mastitic milk, there is an enzyme the plasmin, that breaks down the milk protein casein in the udder prior to milk collection. The other enzyme lipase also breaks done the triglycerides in milk into free fatty acids that give rancid odor and taste to mastitic milk.

Pre-disposing Factors of Mastitis in Dairy Cows:

Predisposing Factors:

  1. Host Related
    • Old age
    • Species
  2. Environment Related
    • Management
    • Nutrition
    • Overcrowding
    • Faulty milking practices
    • Incomplete milking
    • Diseases that cause lesions on the teats e.g. FMD, pox, etc.
    • Mycotoxins in fee

Diagnosis of Mastitis:

Sometimes clinical signs indicate the case of mastitis but sometimes in the subclinical mastitis, the signs are not observable, so the conventional way to diagnose the mastitis with no need of lab and equipment is

Diagnosis through Surf-Field Mastitis Test:

Prepare 3% surf solution.

Take milk of each quarter and add an equal volume of surf solution.

Stir and note for any flake(s).

Other methods to diagnose Mastitis in Dairy Animals are

  • The Coulter Counter
  • Direct Microscopic Method
  • Fossomatic Instrument
  • NAGase Assay
  • California Mastitis Test

How to diagnose Mastitis in Dairy Animals

Best Way to Treat Mastitis in Dairy Cows:

Veterinarians recommend that during the dry period, the managemental protocols largely affect the chances of mastitis in the subsequent lactation. It is highly recommended to give the combination of lincomycin – spiramycin antibiotic ( Brand names Lincospira and Selmore pharma). You can give the injection of any of the one at day of drying off and then one week before calving. Such practices reduce the chances of mastitis in the next lactation.

You can also follow the same treatment if your animal gets infected with Mastitis and you didn’t adopt the above-mentioned protocol during the drying period. Give inj. of Lincomycin-Sipromycin antibiotic IM for 4 days.

Note: don’t use gentamycin and kanamycin drugs because they do not diffuse from the blood into the udder.

Give first-generation cephalosporins e.g., Inj. Velosef™ 500 mg/affected quarter/day in 30 mL water by intramammary route aseptically using branulla 22 G

Always give some immuno-activators (e.g., Lisovit – 50gm/animal/day for 4-6 days; PO) or Nilverm – 80mL/animal/day for 3-5 days (PO), Zinc Sulfate 3 grams PO daily for 8 days

An extremely cheap prescription Rx: 4 grams of boric acid + 120 ml of sterile distilled water or boiled water

  1. Fibrosis of teat (Naurh par jana)

(a)DMSO-iodized oil containing 375 mg iodine S/C in the brisket region X 3 days

(b) Penicillin 20-40 lac IU plus 30ml distilled water for injection intramammary infusion with the help of branulla 22G X 5 days

(c) Injection Linco-spira 25 ml IM X 4days  

(d) Zinc Sulfate 3 g PO X 8 days

  •  a + c and d + Mastiveex-1™ intramammary tube     (marketed in Pakistan by BinSadiq International) containing Cloxacillin sodium, Framycetin sulfate, Sulfadimerazine, and Chymotrypsin X 4 days

Preventive protocols For reducing the chances of Mastitis in Dairy Cows:

  1. Segregation of healthy and infected animals
  2. Milking of healthy animals ahead of infected animals
  3. Culling of chronically infected animals
  4. Purchase of mastitis free animals
  5. Proper treatment of teat and udder wounds
  6. Fly control
  7. General cleanliness of the farm
  8. Proper disposal of mastitic milk of clinical cases
  9. Proper nutrition
  10. Use of immunostimulants
  11. Proper milking and consistent application of sanitary procedures
  12. Provision of cooling ponds to cows and buffaloes
  13. Control and prevention of diseases that predispose to mastitis
  14. Minimizing stress
  15. Post-milking antiseptic teat dipping/spraying:

“Dipping/spraying of teats in a germicidal solution immediately after milking.” The most effective managemental practice to prevent contagious mastitis is not effective against environmental mastitis pathogens. Teat dip: Lanodip™, Masodine™, Fight bac, etc.


Mastitis in Dairy cows is a common problem. Infact it is also a common problem for all dairy animals. The cause may be any sort of injury or infection of the mammary gland that ultimately provides an opportunity for bacteria to enter into the teat canal. Mastitis may be clinical or subclinical. There are various ways to diagnose. The treatment includes some antibiotic combinations. Preventive protocols can help us a lot in decreasing the chances of dairy animals getting mastitis.

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