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|Questions about milk quality|
|El Lechero Dairy Basics - Herd Health|
|Friday, 29 April 2011 14:22|
What is the difference between contagious and environmental mastitis pathogens, and why does it matter?
Mastitis is caused by many different types of bacteria, which invade the udder by gaining access through the teat canal. Once inside the gland, these microorganisms multiply and produce harmful substances that result in inflammation, reduced milk production and altered milk quality.
Microorganisms that most frequently cause mastitis can be divided into two broad categories: contagious pathogens and environmental pathogens.Contagious mastitis pathogens
The mammary gland of infected cows is the main source of contagious pathogens in a dairy herd. Transmission of contagious pathogens to uninfected quarters and cows occurs primarily during the milking process.
The major contagious pathogens are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus agalactiae. These bacteria can be controlled effectively by procedures that prevent the spread of bacteria at milking time, including good udder hygiene, proper milking procedures and post-milking teat disinfection.
Use of dry cow therapy can help eliminate existing infections and prevent new infections during the early dry period.
Mycoplasmas are another important contagious mastitis pathogen. Mycoplasma mastitis may be introduced to the herd by purchased animals and can be spread during milking.
There is no effective treatment for mycoplasma mastitis, but the disease can be controlled by identifying infected animals, followed by segregating and/or culling the infected animals.
Environmental mastitis pathogens
The most frequently isolated environmental pathogens are several species of streptococci and gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella.
Environmental mastitis pathogens cannot be totally eliminated from the cow’s surroundings, but it is possible to keep pathogen numbers low by maintaining a clean and dry environment. This is important because the greater the number of bacteria present in the cow’s environment, the greater risk of mastitis.
Therefore, control measures must rely on limiting the exposure of teats to the various types of environmental bacteria. Proper bedding management and keeping the udders clean and dry at all times helps control environmental mastitis. Dry cow therapy helps control new infections by environmental streptococci in the early dry period.
Take milk samples to determine the pathogens
This can be determined by culturing milk samples from individual cows. Once the pathogens are identified, specific control programs can be developed and implemented on a farm. EL