VIDEO 37 Summer mastitis
Talk to any farmer who has had issues with this disease and they can tell you how frustrating it can be. It is a dry mastitis usually seen between June-September in dry cows and heifers. It can also be rarely seen in bulls and all present with similar symptoms.
These animals can often be isolated, lying down more, slow to stand, and stiff when walking. They may have very high temperatures and swelling of the teat and udder.
They can abort due to the high temperatures.
The infected teat will often be covered in flies. It is the head fly that plays a big role in this disease
How does it occur
The head fly can spread bacteria into the teat. They are usually attracted to teats that have been damaged. Once infected the teat and quarter will often swell up with pus and infection.
The quarter can be rarely saved and often if not spotted or mild, farmers will see heifers calving in with blind quarters.
It is essentially an abscess so drainage is key. The options for these cases are regular stripping every few hours.
Stripping out infected quarters can be dangerous in wild animals. When doing this always tie up a back leg. They are very sore and should receive an anti-inflammatory as part of their routine treatments.
Some animals will need surgical drainage performed by your vet. Sick animals with high temperatures need covering antibiotics and tubing teats are of very little benefit.
It is the control of pain and the drainage of the infection that is the most important element of summer mastitis treatment.
I have tried so many things and also have found that it really is a combination of things that helps reduce the risk
- We know that flies present a risk during the summer months. So avoid where possible grazing heifers and dry cows where there are lots of flies. You can get summer mastitis in bulls very rarely.
- Ensure teat condition is good in animals at turnout. This can be influenced by the lying environment in housing.
- Flytraps have been suggested to be used early in the season to slow down the build-up of big fly numbers on at-risk farms
- Insecticides are so important in keeping flies away. Use a licensed product and apply some with a gloved hand to the back of the udder. They need to be used every 4 weeks
- Fly tags can also help to keep flies away and need to be used in combination with other products.
- Topical preparations or fly repellants also should be applied around the back end and udder. Things like Stockholm tar and others. Some farmers have found regular applications of eucalyptus oil useful. The trick with fly repellants is regular applications which is more work!
- Garlic licks have also been used to help reduce down the fly burdens.
In farms with issues, unfortunately, it takes a very comprehensive approach using all of the above. This, of course, will seem like expense and hassle. In my experience however, this is the only way to get on top of summer mastitis.
At a minimum pour ons, fly tags and fly repellants.
Famers with heifers calving in with blind quarters should consider summer mastitis as one differential for this. All cases of summer mastitis have a risk of aborting when pregnant.
A frustrating disease for farms and cattle that requires a comprehensive approach to reduce the risk
Homemade fly traps smaller one and an example of a larger homemade fly trap. The principle is the same, place bait and then create a one-way system into the trap.
Thought for the day
Don’t be afraid of failure and certainly never be defined by it.
Huge thanks to nettex, rumenco and Progiene for helping me develop #50in50 for more information on Garlic licks click on the link here https://www.rumenco.co.uk/products/supalyx/supalyx-garlic
Happy safe farming