Quality is vital in animal production. Worldwide, consumersconcerned arebecoming increasing about the safety of milk and dairy products. Therefore, the safety of milk has become an integral part of the production process from farm to fork.Clean and high quality milk can only be produced by healthy cows and healthy udder, i.e., cows free of udder infection managed and milked under clean and hygienic environment. Because quality of milkcannot be improved following extraction from the udder of cow, the production of high quality milk requires an effective mastitis control program in addition to adoption of proper hygiene at farm. Important aspects of clean milk production programme are: cows, cow environment, milking system, milking practices or procedures, milkers hygiene and milk storage. A deficiency in any part of the overall system will result in decreased milk quality.
Mastitis is the inflammation of mammary parenchyma. It is usually caused by bacterial which have penetrated the udder. These bacterial generally enter the udder through the teat canal. Mastitis can be kept to a lower level by adopting suitable udder health management programme which intern are based on two main principles viz, elimination of existing infection and prevention of new infection. Elimination of existing infection can be achieved by antibiotic therapy both during dry and lactation period. Clinical cases require early therapy. Antibiotic sensitivity test of milk from the infected quarters helps to prescribe proper therapy. Prevention of new infection can be achieved by adopting a suitable udder health management programme. Use of CMT on the entire herd at least fortnightly or monthly intervals is very useful aid in detecting herd mastitis problems. If it is suspected that a subclinical case of mastitis may progress to clinical, begin prompt therapy.
Several years ago the NMC (National Mastitis Council) developed a list of 5 points and then further modified into 10 points to mastitis control but the lack information in filed disease causing huge economical loss in dairy farming. Therefore, followingpackage of practices is very useful for the control of mastitis in dairy farm.
Adoption of proper hygienic measures:
Maintenance of proper hygiene is perhaps the most important management practice in mastitis control as it affects the degree of exposure and population of microbes in the environment surrounding the cow.
The sanitary measures can be summarised as follows:
- Pre-dip-Teat washing with disinfectant solution and wiping with individual clean towels, prior to each milking. Washing each teat with pre-dip aids the removes mud, dirt, manure etc., on skin.
- Milkers hygiene-Disinfecting of hands of milkers, milking machine clusters before milking and milking.
- Posy dip- Teat dis-infection after each milking by dipping or spraying all teats in disinfectant solution.
In market many product available for pre and post dip, with different trade name select the product after consulting with your farm veterinarian. To ensure effectiveness of disinfectants the udder must be washed clearly to remove all the dirt and dust before applying disinfectant solution on them. Examples: Iodophor solution (Iodine), Sodium hypochloride, Chlorhexidine, Linear dodecyl benzene sulfonic acid etc.
Follow Proper milking procedure:
Proper milking procedure is important regardless of whether hand or machine milking is being followed.
- Rapid and full-hand milking is desirable as this ensures harvesting of more milk and also prevents teat injury which might result as a consequence of improper milking method (Knuckling etc).
- Milking management becomes more important when machine milking is followed. Follow Proper Milking Procedures – examine foremilk for mastitis, apply premilking teat disinfectant, dry teats properly, attach teat cups squarely and level with the udder, adjust cluster during milking as needed, avoid machine stripping, apply teat disinfectant after teat cup removal, use teat dips that have been proven effective, teat dips are preferred to sprays, and milk cows infected with contagious mastitis last. In addition to proper disinfecting of milking machine, the following factors must be considered.
- Handle the cow calmly.
- Attach the milking unit properly.
- Optimum vacuum must be ensured.
- Pulsation rate should be maintained within permissible limits.
- Teat liner should be checked for rupture etc. and must be replaced at least once a month.
- Follow the proper milking order;milk the infected animal in the end when all the fresh animals have been milked.
- Inspect milking equipment routinely and take necessary action when required.
Effective Dry cow therapy:
The dry period offers a valuable opportunity to improve udder health while cows are not lactating. On the other hand, initial 2‑3 weeks and last 2‑3 weeks of dry periodis very vulnerable to new infections. The procedure for the therapy may be carried out as follows:
Dip all the teats in an effective teat dip after complete milking and dry completely.
Disinfect each teat end with alcohol soaked cotton swab and infuse a single doses x syringe of a recommended antibiotic.
Consult your veterinarian before using any therapeutic product into cows.
Use the partial insertion method in dry cow therapy.
Immediately after treatment dip all the teats in an effective teat dip again.
Proper nutrition, house and environment management for maximum health benefits, the use of appropriate vaccinations, and cow cleanliness are points to be includes.
Rapid diagnosis and accurate therapy of affected animals during lactation
Early detection of mastitis, preferably in sub-clinical form itself, is the key to the successful treatment of the disease. This can be better done by screening all quarter samples using California Mastitis Test (CMT), Electric Conductivity (EC) and monitoring Somatic Cell Count (SCC) at least once a month regularly. Use of strip cup is another easy test for detecting clinical mastitis. The antibiotic therapy should be done after conducting the sensitivity test and use single dose tubes and not the multiple dose bottles which can become contaminated. It is better to consult a qualified veterinarian.
Biosecurity, Segregation and culling of chronic infected animals
Follow strict BIOSECURITY measures against contagious pathogens – check cows for mastitis before purchase and then isolate purchased animals, market or segregate cows that are persistently inflected.
As the mastitis is confirmed, the cow must be segregated from rest of the herd. Infected animal must be milked and treated separately besides adopting proper hygienic measures. Selective culling of the cows with chronic mastitis (three or more episodes in lactation) should be practised.
Regular monitoring udder health status:
Regular monitoring udder health of individual cows‑ individual cow somatic cell count (SCC) and bulk tank somatic cell count (BTSCC) can be used along with CMT and should be periodically check. For proper monitoring udder health status good record keeping is essential. Based on the current result of udder health status the appropriate control measures must be undertaken.
Setting realistic goals for improve udder health status:
Establishment of realistic periodic targets for various udder health parameters is the final step of a complete udder health management program. The goals should be realistic. To evaluate, the production of clean milk requires looking at and evaluating nearly every aspect of the milk production system. To consistently produce high quality milk with low bacteria counts requires continual attention to numerous details. You should not be satisfied with any other product or equipment on your farm that just scarcely met minimum performance standards.Don’t delay in talking with yourknowledgeable advisor who can help you establish a Herd health programme for your herd.
The goal of every herd health improvement programme is to prevent the introduction of bacteria into a normal and healthy mammary gland. Elements essential to improve udder health and milk quality are covered in the relevant sections are necessary for mastitis control. Establish the realistic goal and act on that to prevention of mastitis. Don’t shy to talk with your veterinarian and contact him for additional resource on udder health improvement and milk quality.