March Mastitis Management

Erica Sayles |  March 12, 2021

Mastitis is something any dairy farmer is bound to deal with at some point.  What sets them apart is how often they are facing it and at what stage they are treating it. Since it is an infectious disease with several driving bacteria types, it is really important to stay ahead of the bacteria making a full-time stay in your herd.


Mastitis can be contagious and spread at milking, or it can be environmental. You may also have chronic cows in your herd; signs of acute mastitis from time to time, periodic clots, regularly high somatic cell counts (SCC). A mindset switch is needed to say cows that test with elevated SCC are not just a cow with high SCC, she is a cow, with an udder, battling an infection.

Here are the three types of mastitis. Having attentive milkers and regular SCC’s are vital to the control of mastitis in your herd. This allows you to spot cows with mastitis and work to avoid spreading it during milking and provide proper treatment. We can easily pick out cows with abnormal SCC if it is being monitored.

  The best form of control comes in the shape of prevention, and culling those chronic cows is part of that. This allows you to avoid the cost of treatment and milk loss as well as improve the overall comfort of your cows, their udder health, and leg and rump cleanliness. 

Review dry cow treatment protocol to ensure it’s working for you. Are your products working? Do dry cows have adequate bedding? This graph shows us cow’s Linear Score (LS) when they went dry, compared to their LS at their first test in their next lactation. All the cows in the top half of the graph came fresh high. The top right quadrant is typically your chronic cows while the top left is cows that picked up bacteria over their dry period. The goal is to get as few cows in that quadrant as possible.

Go over your milking procedure with your employees to ensure they are following it correctly and identifying any cows with arising issues.


Finally- check those stalls! A clean dry stall helps to keep harmful bacteria away from the udder and off her body.


We work with your udder health records regularly to help you better use the data being collected. If mastitis or changes in SCC have arisen recently, please contact a member of the Parion team so we can support you.