Anything inserted into a teat has the potential to bring bacteria and other microbes. Hence, proper teat cleaning before infusing is crucial to reduce cases of mastitis.
Cleaning teat and mastitis
A study was done to determine the effect of cleaning on bacterial populations on the skin about the teat ends of milking cows.
Although there were different methods of teat cleaning, the results showed that the number of bacteria isolated were 10 times, on average, compared to teats that were not cleaned.
Mastitis is a multifactorial disease. There are a few management practices that a herd can employ to help decrease the risk of new infections.
Reducing the entry of bacteria into the gland during intramammary therapy from poor infusion technique can help to reduce new infections.
For example, partial insertion of cannulas during dry cow therapy can help to reduce the risk of clinical mastitis during dry period. It will also lower bulk tank somatic cell counts in the next lactation.
From studies, it is showed that 79% of herds reported always cleaning the teats ends before infusion.
It is a simple approach to prevent bacterial entry into the gland.
With that being said, that means around 20% or more of herds do not clean the teats consistently.
There are many reasons for that but education of its importance seems to be high on the list.
Another reason could be the inconvenience of alcohol pads supplied with commercially available mastitis tubes.
Herd managers are advised to facilitate the cleaning of teat ends so that it is done consistently every time before any cannulas are inserted through the teat canal.
Cleaning teats consistently leads to healthy cow, means more productive cows, which translate to higher profitability.