1Ankit V. Kachchhi and 2Akruti P. Pachpinde
In many countries, the most common bacteria recovered from instances of clinical mastitis are those that are routinely found in the environment, namely E. coli and Streptococcus uberis. One of the main risk factors for the onset of environmental mastitis is teat end contamination. Housing circumstances can affect the rates of teat contamination because environmental pathogens can grow and thrive in organic bedding materials.The use of straw in cow bedding is specifically linked to S. uberis-caused mastitis. E. coli and Klebsiella species are frequently recovered from diseased cows when sawdust and wood shavings are utilised as bedding. Cattle kept inside typically have a greater infection rate than cattle on pasture, yet S. uberis has been isolated from heavily grazed pasture in quantities comparable to those seen in bedding material.
Contamination of the intramammary tubes by the environment can spread infection. This route of transmission is especially linked to outbreaks of mastitis caused by organisms resistant to antibiotics, viz., fungus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Throughout the drying-off phase and the weeks leading up to calving, many diseases brought on by environmental pathogens happen. The bulk of E. coli infections happen seven to ten days prior to calving, which could be partially explained by the organism’s ability to use the enterobactin iron-acquisition pathway to absorb iron from the dry mammary gland. Environmental mastitis usually resolves more quickly than infectious mastitis. Furthermore, coliform bacterial infections are likely to show clinical symptoms, some of which may be severe.
Reducing the quantity of pathogens in the surroundings necessitates maintaining adequate circumstances for cows either in housing or on pasture. Housing facilities for both dry and nursing cows need to be properly planned and maintained. Because infection often occurs shortly before calving, facilities for dry cows and cows in the calving process are particularly crucial for the prevention of E. coli mastitis.
The following are some crucial actions to take in order to lower the pathogen reservoir in the cow’s surroundings:
- Proper Housing Design:
- Housing facilities that are made to guarantee proper laying posture and proper cubicle utilisation in order to prevent teat injuries.
- Maintaining Clean and Dry Bedding:
- Pathogen proliferation is reduced when bedding is dry and clean. Compared to organic bedding like sawdust or straw, the number of bacteria in dry inorganic bedding like sand or mats is smaller.
- Well-Ventilated Buildings:
- Preventing damp conditions in buildings through proper ventilation stops potential pathogens from building up.
To reduce new infections, consider implementing the following measures:
- Optimal Milking Equipment:
- Properly operating milking machinery to stop environmental infections from entering the udder and teat canal.
- Internal Teat Seals at Drying Off:
- Internal teat seals during the drying off process lower the incidence of new infections at calving as well as during the dry phase. Antibiotic medication for dry cows can also be beneficial in preventing new infections, but it has little effect on the ambient reservoir of bacteria that cause mastitis.
- Post-Milking Practices:
- One way to reduce the threat of infection in milking animals is to keep them upright until the teat sphincter has closed fully. Feeding animals following milking is one way to accomplish this.
- Teat Dipping:
- According to some research, dipping the teat before milking can lower the rate of new infections with environmental pathogens by up to 50%.