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Peri-calving mastitis

Peri-calving mastitis is defined as a case of mastitis in the first seven days post-calving, and often occurs due to oedematous (swollen) udders and dripping milk.

Prevention involves  

  • Calving cows on “clean” pasture, which we all know is easier said than done! Keeping springers off mud will help to reduce environmental contamination of the udder.
  • Teat spray! Teat-spraying is highly effective and can reduce the new clinical case rate by up to 50%. Also consider teat-spraying the springer mob a few times a week – this also helps to reduce the environmental challenge prior to calving.
  • Twice daily calf pick-up and milking. This has been shown to reduce clinical mastitis by 45%.

When it comes to treating these cases of peri-calving mastitis, some of the antibiotic therapies being used on farm are inappropriate for the inciting cause. Recent studies have shown over 60% of cases in spring are caused by Streptococcus uberis, an environmental bacterium that is very responsive to intramammary penicillin or penethamate injectable products. Using penicillins as a first-line treatment of peri-calving cases preserves the use of cloxacillin products and other critical antibiotics (such as tylosin) for more difficult to treat cases and “Staph” later on in the season. Collecting milk samples and freezing them prior to beginning treatment also allows us to perform a milk culture and determine the bacteria involved if the mastitis fails to respond to treatment.

Anti-inflammatories should also be considered when treating mastitis on farm, such as Meloxivet or Ketomax 15%. These drugs aim to reduce pain and inflammation and will also resolve any fever and swelling associated with mastitis, helping the cow to recover quickly.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for should you be experiencing problems with peri-calving mastitis. We offer a quick turnaround on milk culture results and are always happy to talk about prevention and appropriate treatments for your herd.

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