Tag Archives: mastitis

Milk Quality & Mastitis Part II: Treatment

This article is part of the NOFA Vermont Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance Program.

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Silhouette of three cowsWe recently shared some resources for mastitis prevention. But what to do when cows do get a clinical or subclinical udder infection?

Subclinical mastitis can show up as an increase in the SCC (somatic cell count) without visual signs of mastitis. Clinical mastitis will include visual changes in the milk or udder swelling.

When a cow has clinical mastitis, treatment suggestions that Dr. Guy Jodarski, staff veterinarian for Organic  Valley/CROPP Cooperative, discussed in a recent webinar include:

  • frequent stripping
  • vitamin & mineral supplements
  • allowed synthetics including fluids, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • biologics (such as immunoboost) and vaccines
  • herbs including antibacterial tinctures
  • topicals (essential oils)
  • whey products – made from colostrum
  • antioxidants
  • homeopathy

Some synthetic medications are allowed for use on organic livestock; for acute mastitis cases these include Banamine (Flunixin) and aspirin. Electrolytes (such as CMPK or hypertonic saline), along with injectable vitamins, are also used by some veterinarians.

Before treating an animal, check the 2014 Organic Livestock Healthcare List or contact the VOF certification office to be sure the treatment is approved for use. It is important to keep records of what treatments are used, and to withhold milk when required by the organic standards.

As there’s no single silver bullet treatment for mastitis, each farm will find a few products from this list that work for their management system.

A good relationship with the veterinarian can make being  certified organic easier! Your veterinarian can help you  understand what treatments to use, develop a better prevention plan, and keep better records.

For more information on organic production, herd health, and other technical assistance available from NOFA Vermont, contact Sam Fuller, Program Coordinator, at 802-434-4122 or sam@nofavt.org.

Dairy & Livestock at the Winter Conference

Join us for an advanced commercial dairy & livestock track on Saturday, including:

Sunday also offers a diversity of workshop topics, including Efficient Swine Rationing from Piglet to Adult, Farm Labor: Strategies for Success with Your Employees, Market Research: How to Address Opportunities, Winter Lambing Procedure, and many more!

And on Monday, February 17th, join our all-day intensive:
Chicken Soup for the Soil: Building Nutrient-Dense Soil for Nutrient-Dense Crops with Jerry Brunetti,
Jack Lazor, and Heather Darby.

Milk Quality & Mastitis Part I: Prevention

Silhouette of three cowsThis article is part of the NOFA Vermont Dairy and Livestock Technical Assistance Program.

Organic milk buyers know that milk with a low somatic cell count (SCC) will have longer shelf life, less off flavor and higher cheese yield, which is why they pay quality premiums. Those premiums are a big economic incentive to prevent mastitis and maintain low SCC. Keeping high-count cows out of the tank can do this, but mastitis prevention is ideal. Prevention requires monitoring udder health to detect new mastitis cases early on, as well as adapting management practices to increase sanitation and prevent infections from spreading.

In the article Milk Quality on Organic Dairy Farms, Dr. Linda Tikofski of Cornell University emphasizes the importance of good milking procedures to prevent mastitis. Her list of procedures includes: pre-dipping & wiping with individual towels; fore-stripping into a cup or gutter to remove high SCC milk and bacteria in teat ends; milk fresh heifers first, then low SCC cows, then high SCC cows, then contagious cows last; and applying a post dip to at least 2/3 of the teat. She also said that it is better to leave some milk in the udder than to damage teat ends by pulling down on machines or leaving them on too long.

In a recent webinar on organic dairy cow health, Dr. Guy Jodarski, staff veterinarian for Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, also discussed the importance of dry cow management to prevent mastitis, including good dry off procedure, dry cow housing with clean & dry bedding and nutritious high forage diet.

For more information on organic production, herd health, and other technical assistance available from NOFA Vermont, contact Sam Fuller, Program Coordinator, at 802-434-4122 or sam@nofavt.org.