Text and illustrations: Peter Edmondson

Photo 8. Freshly calved cow with acute Escherichia coli mastitis

Establishing the bacterial cause of clinical mastitis through questioning

When a herd has a problem with clinical mastitis it is very helpful to have accurate mastitis records and bacteriology results to establish the cause of the infection. Computerised records that allow easy mastitis analysis are invaluable. In most developed dairy countries farmers are required to keep accurate mastitis records, however, in other dairy areas records might be missing or inaccurate. Some farmers carry out regular bacteriology sampling from clinical cases while others might have none. An accurate diagnosis of the bacteria causing mastitis allows targeted steps to resolve the problem. It is helpful to be able to breakdown mastitis infections into contagious and/or environmental, lactation and/or dry period infections and the specific bacteria causing mastitis.

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