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Troubleshooting a Mastitis Problem Herd

Reviewed January 2009

PDF version

J.W. Schroeder, Extension Dairy Specialist

Do you have a herd mastitis problem? If your bulk tank SCC is 750,000 or greater, you are in danger of losing your milk market. Since mastitis can be caused by man, machine, and the cows' environment, all items must be checked to determine its cause.

Using a bulk tank report

One of the most accurate methods of diagnosing problems is with a bulk tank analysis, but before any drastic measures are taken, a second bulk tank sample should be taken -- several days apart. A sample report is included (Figure 1.) for reference only, and accompanying explanations (Table 1 and Table 2.) are provided for your use in determining the problem and how to solve it.

Table 1. This table will aid In the interpretation of your bulk tank analysis. Good management procedures are probably being practiced when results are within the normal levels. Hygiene procedures should be evaluated when results exceed these levels.

Contagious Bacteria

Normal Levels

Moderate Levels

High Levels

Control

Staphylococcus
(coagulase +)

O

100-400 >

500

Teat dipping and dry cow therapy

Streptococcus agalactiae

O

100-5000 >

6000

Teat dipping and dry cow therapy

Streptococcus dysgalactiae

< 500

500-1000 >

1000

Teat dipping and dry cow therapy

Corynebactenum < bovis

500

500-1000 >

1000

Teat dipping and dry cow therapy

Mycoplasma

Negative

Positive

Positive

Teat dipping and culling

 

Environmental Bacteria

Normal Levels

Moderate Levels

High Levels

Control

Streptococcus
uberis

< 500

500-1000 >

1000

Milk clean dry udders, pre-dip*

Coliforms

< 500

500-1000 >

1000

Milk clean dry udders pre-dip*

Misc. (Bacillus, Pseudomonas, etc.)

< 300

400-1000 >

1000

Milk clean dry udders pre-dip*

Staphylococcus (coagulase - )

500

600-1000 >

1000

Milk clean dry udders pre-dip*

 

Milk Quality Tests

Normal

Medium

High

Indicator of:

Lab. Pasteurized Count

< 1000

1500 >

1500

Dirty milking equipment - check wash-up procedures

Somatic Cell Count (X 1000)

200

300-400 >

500

Udder health in the herd.

Standard Plate Count

< 10,000

20-40,000

750,000

# of visible bacteria in milk sample

P.I. Count

< 10,000

20-40,000

750,000

Milk-keeping properties and sanitation on dairy.

*Remember pre-dipping has been proven only on clean, dry udders.

Table 2. Bulk tank bacterial types, with common sources and modes of spread and control therapy.

Contagious Bacteria

Source

Means of Spread

Control

Staphylococcus

(coagulase +) aureus

Infected udders, teat lesions, udder skin, etc.

Cow to cow by contaminated udder wash rags, teat cups, hands, etc.

Teat dipping and dry cow therapy.

Streptococcus agalactiae (causes high somatic cell counts)

Infected udders

Cow to cow by contaminated udder wash rags, teat cups, hands, etc.

Teat dipping and dry cow therapy.

Streptococcus dysgalatiae

Infected udders, feces, skin

Cow to cow by contaminated udder wash rags, teat cups, hands, etc.

Teat dipping and dry cow therapy cow therapy; milk clean, dry udders.

Corynebacterium bovis

Teat canal

Inhabits the teat canal. Appears in tank milk when cows are not prestripped.

Teat dipping and dry cow therapy.

Mycoplasma

Infected udders, contaminated antibiotic mixes in bottles

Cow to cow by contaminated udder wash rags, teat cups, hands, etc.

Teat dipping use commercial tubes, not Bottle mixes. Once contracted, it is not curable.

 

Environmental Bacteria

Source

Means of Spread

Control

Streptococcus uberis

Numerous locations on infected udders and on the cow; hair, lips, vagina, feces,etc., as well as bedding, muddy lots, etc.

Environment to cow by: wet, dirty lots and bedding;milking wet teats; poor udderpreparation

Milk clean, dry udders,pre-dippingmay help.

Coliforms

Manure, bedding, green sawdust

Environment to cow by: wet, dirty lots and bedding; milking wet teats; poor udder preparation

Milk clean,dry udders, pre-dipping may help.

Bacillus, Pseudomonas, etc.

Hoses, dirty water, milk, manure, bedding, etc.

Environment to cow by: wet, dirty lots and bedding; miking wet teats; poor udder preparation

Milk clean, dry udders, pre-dipping may help, replace wash hoses.

Staphylococcus spp.:
(coagulase -) epidermidis,
Hyicus micrococcus, etc.

Normal inhabitant of udder skin

Poor udder preparation, milking wet udders and teats

Milk clean, dry udders.

 

Figure 1. Record your bulk tank milk sample analysis and file for future reference.

Contagious Bacteria:

Record of Lab Results

Ideal Range

Staphyoccus





(Coagulase Positive)

______

0

Streptococcus





agalactiae

______

0


dysgalactiae

______

0 - 500

Corynebacterium


______

0 - 500

Mycoplasma (7 day test)


______

Negative

 

Environmental Bacteria:

Record of Lab Results

Ideal Range

Streptococcus uberis


__________

0 - 500

Coliforms


__________

0 - 500

Bacillus


__________

0 - 500

Other:





Staphyloccus
(Coagulase Negative)

__________

0 - 500

 

Milk Quality Tests :

Record of Lab Results

Ideal Range

Lab Pasteurized Count

_________________

0 - 1,000

Somatic Cell Count

_________________

0 - 200,000

Standard Plate Count

_________________

0 - 10,000

P. I. Count

_________________

0 - 10,000

Adapted by Bray and Shearer, University of Florida

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