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Mastitis prevention

Solution name: Mastitis prevention


  • prevention of mastitis (udder health)
  • detection of inflammation in early stage and treat it
  • decrease predisposing factors
  • increase efficiency of treatments


Mastitis has several negative impacts on milk production and lamb rearing performance. It is not only a milk production loss or culling animals, furthermore preventive and rational/targeted treatment as additional costs are decreasing the overall success and benefit of the farms/sector.

Just a very low population of Hungarian sheep are milked nowadays, where the incidence rate of mastitis is high and its’ losses are significant. Causes of forming mastitis could be classified to three main factors/ groups:

  • mechanical damages of the udders: incorrect housing system is the main factor (hitting the udder, over-milking, crowdy housing)
  • bacterial origin: low hygienic circumstances, not correct udder conformation (udder conformation is a good heritability trait which should be preferred among selection criteria, especially in milking breeds, it could be a good option in near future too by robotic-milking).
  • suckling or milking failures: first cause has a higher impact in practice. It could be caused by illness or death of lambs or the ewes (deny of lamb, lack of maternal instinct, damaged or contagious ecthyma virus (scabbed mouth) on teats*)

Incidence of mastitis could be decreased by using regularly, good quality bedding materials and litter treatment, selection for good udder conformation, correct adjustment of milking machine.

In practical point of view the incidence of mastitis is increasing right after weaning of the lambs and starting milking of the ewes, which could be the result of weaning stress. Stress is inhibiting milk flow and in not properly milked animals it causes inflammation in udder tissue.

*Scrabbed mouth viruses can cause severe dermal damages and after healing scar tissues, deformed teats remaining, which makes machine milking difficult or disable and after all it is ended bz culling of animals.

Topic: Health

Production:  Dairy / Meat

Animal Category: Adults

Issue: Mastitis

Level of Solution: Knowledge, Practical

Country: Hungary







How to implement it

Regular straw bedding, check the animals, immediate treatment if it is necessary.

Expected benefits
  • better animal health, lower culling rate, higher milking performance
Prerequisites and/or limits
  • conscientious, professional labour
  • individual electric conductometer in milking machine (identification of subclinical mastitis)
Tips & Tricks
  • high milking performance ewes should be check the udders right after lambing in every 2 days for prevention of mastitis and lower decrease of milk to demand of lambs
  • Offer fresh fodder for ewes after milking, they will not lay down on deep litter and it forgives lower chance for bacterial infection through opened teats canals,
  • teats should be treated post-milking to prevent bacterial infections,
  • early detection of inflammation in udder is very important for better life time performances of animals and other  economical point of view. It is quite easy the double check per day of ewes in lactation. Meat producing population or during lamb rearing period there is a simple detection method. Because of severe pain in udder if we alarm the flock ill ewes will not lifting up her leg on the side of inflammated udder, they will pull this leg.

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