Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Cows are prone to mastitis, especially when they are being milked and are actively producing large volumes of milk. Luckily, there are now medications available that can be used to treat mastitis directly. These medications, such as Quartermaster, can be administered directly into the teat in order to treat the infection within the udder. If you have a dairy cow or cows, it is important that you are aware of the signs that she has developed mastitis. This way, if you recognize the signs, you can take action and treat her with Quartermaster or a similar antibiotic.
Redness and Swelling
Often the first sign that a cow has mastitis is that her udder becomes red and swollen. The swelling and redness are usually worse around the teat. All of the teats may be affected, but it is common to only notice this problem in one or two. Sometimes, cow owners mistake the redness and swelling as being indicative of an injury. However, nursing cows are very protective of their udders and are not that likely to suffer an injury from a kick or other physical movement. Mastitis is very likely the cause of any redness and swelling you notice.
When a cow has mastitis, walking can become painful since her infected udder rubs on her inner legs with every step. So, you may notice your cow is not walking around as much as she usually does. She may hesitate to head back out to pasture after she is milked or fed. She may stand in the shed all day rather than going out to graze. (Reduced appetite can be a sign of mastitis, too.) It's a good idea to be familiar with each cow's movement patterns so you recognize early on when there is a problem.
A cow with mastitis will also produce milk that is irregular in one or more ways. It may have an increased cell count, which will mean it does not pass testing. In severe cases, you may notice that the milk appears overly thick, has an unpleasant odor, or looks slightly yellow. Milk from a cow who potentially has mastitis should not be consumed.
If you think your cow may have mastitis, contact a vet such as US Vet and ask about antibiotics. Often, the vet will show you how to administer Quartermaster so you can give the daily treatments yourself.