There are several diseases that domestic cows are prone to, but mastitis is a disease on a rampage. Mastitis is a mammary gland infection that damages the teat and udder. Clinical symptoms include inflammation, pain, and clotting of the milk in the infected quarter. One study showed that while testing for mastitis, 39.3 percent of lactating cows had at least one infected quarter (Tebug et al., 2012). Mastitis is the most common disease in dairy cattle and the most costly to farmers and the dairy industry (Hammami et al., 2013; Tebug et al., 2012). The average cost of mastitis per cow is $179, which is composed of the cost of treatment, loss of milk production, and death expenses (Bar et al., 2008). Cows that are housed in clean stables with dry ground and fresh bedding are not as susceptible to get mastitis as opposed to cows that are housed on wet and dirty concrete floors (Tebug et al., 2012). When pens do not get cleaned properly, the bedding accumulates manure, urine, and several other types of moisture that create an excellent environment for bacteria to grow. Wet concrete floors and overpopulated stables are a great milieu for many different pathogens. The most common pathogen for mastitis is staphylococci bacteria (Graber et al., 2013). Mastitis is an immune response to bacteria invading the teat canal. The bacteria damages the tissue linings of the teats. Once a cow has been subject to mastitis, she is more likely to get it again, especially during the rainy season (Tebug et al., 2012).
- Tebug S, Njunga G, Chagunda M, Wiedermann S (2012) Health constraints and farm management factors influencing udder health of dairy cows in Malawi. Journal of Agricultural Science 4, 136-141.
- Graber H, Pfister S, Burgener P, Boss R, Meylan M, Hummerjohann, J (2013) Bovine Staphylococcus aureus: diagnostic properties of specific media. Research in Veterinary Science 95, 38-44.
- Hammami R, Fernandez B, Lacroix C, Fliss I (2013) Anti-infective properties of bacteriocins: an update. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 70, 2947-2967.
- Bar D, Tauer L, Bennett G, González R, Hertl J, Schukken Y, Schulte H, Welcome F, Gröhn Y (2008) The cost of generic clinical mastitis in dairy cows as estimated by using dynamic programming. Journal of Dairy Science. 91, 2205-14.
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