cleaned and contamination of the teat skin. There is a direct
relationship between skin and mastitis. If dirty skin then more
chances of mastitis. By providing hygienic conditions mastitis can
be controlled and quality of milk and its byproducts can be improved.
Increased somatic cell count and increased neutrophils and
macrophages also deteriorate the quality of milk. Increased
somatic cell count claims mastitis. So there is direct
relationship between mastitis and somatic cell count. But in
late lactation and newly parturating animals, there is also
increase in somatic cells.
Whenever there is rise in somatic cell count, casein content
falls down (which is very important protein). Similarly leakage
of certain proteins from serum like albumin, immunoglobulin and
transferrin into milk also occurs.
There is also an increase in sodium and potassium ions.
Calcium level decreases.
Normal pH of milk is 6.6 but it may raise upto 6-9 or more in
the milk collected from subclinically mastitic animal and even
more in clinically mastitic animals.
There is release of proteolytic enzyme from blood like plasmin.
Plasmin is excessive in blood but low in milk. It cannot be
destroyed at 140 oC. If it is high in milk then
deteriorate the quality of milk. Milk heated at 140 oC
for 1.5 minute destroys the Plasmin and some other enzyme like
lipase. Lipase attack triglycerides to convert them into free
fatty acids, which produce offensive smell and rancid flavour in
Watery milk shows chronic type of inflammation. If watery
secretion present in first few streaks (about 10 streaks) then
normal but if more than it then chronic mastitis.
Plaques present in milk show severe infection. If present at
start of milking then shows infection due to S. aureus. If at
the end of milking then indicates animal having TB. These
plaques are normally present in milk in 1-2 days of lactation
and in last 2-3 days of lactation.
Changes in Cow Milk Associated with High Somatic Cell Count
Milk with high Somtic cell Count
Solid non fat
Types of Mastitis
Pathological organisms present in milk but no swelling of udder and
normal cell count.
Bacteria and somatic cells present in milk and change in composition
of milk but no gross lesions.
is divided into three categories depending upon severity:
There are obvious symptoms of inflammation present on udder, change
in colour and composition of milk and increased temperature.
No obvious change in udder but clots and plaques present in the
Every acute infection develops into chronic infection if not
treated. In this phase major changes are fibrosis of udder. There
may be fibrotic mass particularly in teat canal.
Aseptic/Non Specific Mastitis:
It is due to trauma or injury to the udder.
Pathogens Involved in Mastitis
They spread from quarter to quarter through contamination by hands,
flies, wounds etc. They always require host e.g. Staph aureus,
Mycoplasma, Pasteurella. They have very limited life in environment.
In Pakistan mastitis caused by Staph aureus and Streptococcus
agalectia is 70-80 % of mastitis and rest of it is caused by
environment (E. coli)
primary source is the environment in which the animal lives. They
spread by direct contact of the teats to the bedding or mud, dirt
and manure. Examples are Coliform species like E.coli, Klebsella,
Streptococcus uberis, streptococcus agalactae, and streptococcus
This group of mastitis pathogens includes around 30 different
species of the genus Staphylococcus (other than Staph aureus) and
Corynebacterium bovis. They are normally present on the teat skin
and streak canal. Therefore they are in an opportunistic position to
colonize the teat canal and penetrate the udder.
Etiological agents of systemic diseases with mammary gland
involvement like Leptospira, Mycobacterium bovis etc.
Sources of Mastitis
Hands of milker. Staph aureus is present on skin, naries of
human if no proper bath. He will shift from one herd to other.
Lack of proper management i.e. proper teat dipping is not
carried out, no antiseptic solution is used and no sanitation
measures are taken.
Trauma during sitting posture or due to kicking udder leads to
Folded thumb milking particularly in villages damages the teat
and causes adhesion and increases the chances of mastitis.
In old animals teat canal is fragile and immune system is weak.
So there are more chances of infection in old animals.
Pathogenesis of Mastitis
There are three phases of mastitis:
It depends upon no. of bacteria. When bacteria enter, they multiply
and increase in population. So certain no. of bacteria is required
for invasion. This determines the infection rate. Any damage to teat
canal provides opportunity to bacteria to invade and multiply. Loose
sphincter will also provide the opportunity of entrance and adhesion
Whenever bacteria enter, the infection depends upon the nature of
bacteria. If highly pathogenic, then severe infection.
bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics and some are resistant.
Staph aureus if capsulated it resists and more chances of infection.
less immunoglobulins present in udder or teat canal then more
chances of infection.
existing leukocytes if more in number; less chances of infection.
They cause phagocytosis of bacteria.
Stages of lactation also affect the severity of infection e.g. in
lactating phase milk flow does not allow bacteria to attach.
Similarly during lactation, treatment is difficult because
antibiotics may flow in milk. Dry period is the best time to treat
mastitis because antibiotics will stay for longer time in udder. The
best time for infection is also the dry period; bacteria once
entered, remain there and cause infection.
Inflammation depends upon the pathogenecity of bacteria and the
production of endotoxins, particularly the endotoxins of S. aureus
(α and ß) and E.coli that cause damage to the capillaries of udder
and cause the release of fluid in subcutaneous parenchyma tissue. In
case of E. coli there is huge number of endotoxins and huge damage
and inflammation. But S. aureus endotoxins cause less damage to the
vessels. They cause chronic mastitis and more fibrosis. Their
ultimate target is to damage milk alveoli.
Clinical Findings of Mastitis
There is change in udder size; size increases in acute cases
while in chronic cases it decreases due to fibrosis and atrophy
Consistency of udder is soft and hot in acute but hard in
chronic due to fibrosis
In case of endogenous spread (like E.coli) systemic reaction may
occur and cause temperature, anorexia, depression and whenever
increase in fever animal is off feed
In S. aureus infection there is rise in temperature in early
In case of streptococcus no rise in temperature while in case of
E.coli high temperature.
Diagnosis of Mastitis
Direct Microscopic Method:
Put 0.1 ml of milk sample on slide, dry it and stain it with Newman
Lampert’s Stain and then count somatic cells with the help of
microscope in certain area. Multiply the cell counted with a working
factor of microscope, it will give the number of cells per ml of
allows the rapid and accurate determination of the number of
particles above a certain size in a suspension.
is an automatic microscopic method for counting cells in liquids.
Cells are stained with ethidium bromide and are then excited with a
high energy lamp, causing them to emit light energy which is
detected electronically, the results being displayed are printed out
for each successive sample. From the sample 0.2 ml is taken and
transferred to a glass container on a rotary table where it is mixed
with preheated buffer and dye and stirred well. Part of the mixture
is then transferred to the periphery of a rotating disc, which
serves as an object plane for the microscope. The film is
illuminated by a xenon arc lamp, the light passes through lenses and
a blue filter. Each cell produces an electrical pulse, which is fed
to an amplifier. The printout of the count needs to be multiplied by
1000 to give number of cells per ml.
NAGase (N-acetyl glucosamide) is a lysosomal enzyme. Its level
increases due to mastitis which can be detected for the diagnosis of
mastitis. Kits to detect are available.
California Mastitis Test:
reagent is used in California Mastitis Test which is alkaline in
nature. Whenever mastitis occurs, there will be destruction of
leukocytes due to phagocytosis. As a result DNA content increases in
milk which is acidic in nature and causes the increase in the
acidity of milk. Any alkaline reagent if added, it will neutralize
the milk. The reagent added in California mastits has alkyl aryl
sulfoxide which will cause the precipitation or gel formation in
Field Mastitis Test:
test discovered by Prof. Dr. Ghulam Muhammad, Department of Clinical
Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad. Make 3 % surf field solution: add 6
teaspoons of surf in half litre water, mix it, filter the solution
and heat it. Take milk and add equal volume of 3% solution, swirl
this mixture for half minute and then examine for precipitation or
gel formation (In case of mastitis). The test solution is stable for
6 months at room temperature. The solution should be shaken well
Strip Cup Method:
It is the simplest method. Take few streaks in cups with black
background and observe any abnormality e.g. clots.
Take few streaks on ground. If the absorbance of streak is quick in
ground then animal is –ve for mastitis but if the absorbance is slow
then milk is mastitic. Late absorbance is due to pus as mastitic
milk is pus containing milk.
Measuring Electrical Conductivity of Milk:
The concentration of sodium and chloride increases in milk as a
result of mastitis. These ionic changes together with increase in
milk pH and decrease of milk fat lead to increased electrical
conductivity of milk. Electrical conductivity measuring can be
converted into computer readable signal. Therefore, this method is
easily applicable to online automatic monitoring of udder health and
can be installed in milking machines. The method however, is not
very specific for mastitis.
Treatment of Mastitis
have to target three things:
First of all determine the nature of mastitis and on the basis of
nature of mastitis and its etiological agent select antibiotics.
Antibiotics can be administered through intramuscular or
intramammary route. Whenever given through intramuscular route the
best drugs to be given are macrolides (erythromycin, tylosin),
oxytetracyclin, cephlosporin, chlorofluracin, and quinolines
(norfloxacin). Tribrissen is also good. The best approach is to give
antibiotics through intramammary route. Commercial Intramammary
tubes are also available in market. For subsiding inflammation
steroids may be used in acute inflammation otherwise NSAIDS.
Vitamin AD3E may be used to increase immunity. To enhance
immunity, trace elements like zinc, copper, and iodine may also be
used. Biotechnological products like Interleuken-1, Interleuken-2,
and lysostaphin are also used.
It refers to infusing larger quantity of weak antiseptic solution
into quarter and withdrawing it. For this purpose acriflavin
solution (1:10000 boiled in water) is generally used. Remove
milk from the udder and infuse the solution, remain there for 5
minutes and then remove out with the help of syringe.
Permanent Drying/Blocking of Affected Quarter:
If quarter does not respond to antibiotic,
infuse tincture iodine into that quarter; it will cause irritation
and block that quarter permanently. 50 ml of chlorhexadene
can also be used.
Garlic, lemon , ginger, red chilies, black pepper, black zera, dried
ginger….dry for 5 days. Mix them in flour, sprinkle water and wrap
in newspaper. Give for 5 days.
ml lemon and 500 gram sugar may also be given.
gram garlic and 1000 ml milk is cooked and given to animal for 2-3
Control of Mastitis
main objectives of control:
Prevention of new infection in the herd
Reduction of duration of existing infection
There are five different plans to control mastitis which were
devised by NMC (National Mastitis Council), USA in 1990.
Pre milking teat dipping
Post milking teat dipping
Dry cow therapy
Prompt treatment of clinical cases
Culling of chronic mastitic animals from the herd
Milking Teat Dipping:
the teats before milking with the . Dry the teats after pre dipping
by towel or tissue. Do not use same towel for more than one animal.
Teat cups are available having antiseptic in it like iodofores
(0.1-1 % iodine). Dip the teats one by one for 2-3 seconds.
Quaternary ammonium compounds, chlorhexidine, and sodium
hypochlorite may also be used as dip solution.
Milking Teat Dipping:
Organism is present in environment and teat skin. In order to avoid
it we go for post milking dipping. After milking teat sphincter
remains open for 30 minutes to 2 hours. It is ideal time for entry
of organism to teat canal. So perform teat dipping after milking.
Solutions for post milking teat dipping are same as for pre milking
rate of new udder infections increases dramatically shortly after
drying off and remains elevated during the first 3 weeks of mammary
involution. During the first few days after drying off, the animal
goes through a period of stress that may predispose her to
infections. Up to 40% of all new intramammary infections are
established during the first two weeks of the dry period and without
dry cow therapy, 10 to 15% of the quarters will become infected
during the dry period. Dry cow treatment is aimed at preventing new
infection from occurring during this period of increased
susceptibility as well as curing existing infection and is
beneficial against both contagious and environmental pathogens.
Advantages of dry cow treatment include the following:
The cure rate is higher than during lactation
Higher concentrations of drugs can be used
New infections during the dry period are reduced except first 3
weeks after drying off
Drug residues in milk are avoided
Prompt Treatment of Clinical Cases:
Despite implementation of effective mastitis control measures,
clinical cases still occur. These cases should be treated promptly
to maximize the chances of recovery. Treatment of clinical cases
involves intramammary and parenteral administration of antibiotics.
Extreme care must be taken whenever anything is being infused into
udder. Careless treatment procedures can result in udder infections
resistant to treatment. Approach treatment in the same way a surgeon
Wash hands with soap and water
Wash teats and udder in sanitizing solution
Thoroughly dry teats and udder with single service individual
Dip teats in an effective germicidal teat dip
Allow 30 seconds of contact time before wiping off teat dip with
an individual towel
Thoroughly scrub the teat end with a cotton swab soaked in
alcohol. If all four quarters are being treated, start by
cleaning the teat farthest from you and work toward the closest
Preferably use commercial antibiotic products in single dose
containers designed with partial insertion arrangement
formulated for dry cow therapy in single dose containers. Do not
allow the sterile cannula to touch anything prior to infusion.
After infusion, remove cannula, squeeze teat end with one hand,
massage antibiotic up into the quarter with the other hand. Dip
teats in an effective germicidal teat dip after treatment.
One can also prepare infusion solutions and infused with the
help of plastic part of IV catheter (Branula # 18 or 20).
Culling of Mastitic
Cull mastitic animals from herd.
Segregation of healthy and infected animals and milking of
healthy animals ahead of infected animals
Cull chronically infected animals
Purchase mastitis-free animals (Surf Field Mastitis test -ive
animals). Keep them segregated for about 2 weeks. Retest with
Surf test before adding to already existing herd.
Mastitis control in heifers: The gradual building up of a
separate heifer herd, clean at the outset, is of great
importance. The occasional appearance of mastitis in
first-calving heifers is said to be due to the habit of female
calves sucking one another's teats. This problem should be
addressed through appropriate managemental practices.
Proper treatment of teat and udder wounds
General cleanliness of farm
Proper disposal of mastitic milk of clinical cases
Prepartum milking of animals which develop mastitis close to
calving: Many dairy animals which have subclinical infections
during the dry period often develop severe swelling of the udder
and teat a few weeks or days before calving. If such is the
case, one should start milking the diseased quarter (s) before
parturition. Appropriate treatment should also be given.
Proper nutrition: The feed should be balanced in terms of
energy, protein contents, as well as vitamins and minerals.