About Mastitis

Mastitis is inflammation of the udder. Usually caused by bacterial infections, mastitis can be a significant cause of both animal suffering and production loss.
Mastitis can be clinical (easy to spot visual changes in the milk, and often changes in the udder such as swelling, reddening, and poor milk out), or sub-clinical (increased number of white blood cells in the milk (somatic cells)).

Mastitis cows need careful attention and extra care, whether the farm is conventional or organic. Large numbers of mastitis cases are a significant loss to a farm.

The quality of the milk sold by the farm is also graded based on the somatic cell count of the milk in the tank, and financial penalties apply when farms supply milk to the processor that exceeds limits.

Mastitis as a management disease

In most cases, mastitis is a disease process directly influenced by the milking managment programme on the farm. This incorporates the calving period, mid to late lactation, drying off and the dry period, and the procedures and processes used on the farm at these times.

To get the best results, it is important to consider all these areas when looking at milk quality.

South Wairarapa vets offer a comprehensive approach to improving and maintaining milk quality. We are also members of the New Zealand Milk Pumping and Testing Association to provide a comprehensive approach in conjunction with local plant suppliers and testers.

South Wairarapa Vets are proud supporters of the SmartSAMM programme. Adrian Evans is an accredited veterinarian for this milk quaility programme, and we use SmartSAMM and an integral component to our milk quality consulations.

SmartSAMM helps dairy farmers, their farm team and advisors, to improve udder health and milk quality, resulting in:

  • Time savings at milking
  • Healthier cows and happier people
  • More production and profit