Mastitis? Or something else? (Dairy)

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
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Mastitis? Or something else? (Dairy)

Postby MikeJoel » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:52 pm

Here is a picture of a sample of the milk from this teat.

Image

There is some saw dust in there cause she knocked the bucket a little. But the stuff at the bottom looks like lumpy or stringy cream.

When I first started milking this teat everything seemed ok. When I went to empty the bucket into the holding bucket I noticed it looked pinkish. I immediately thought of blood in the milk (I had been told it is not unusual for some cows to give a little bloody milk to start with after calving).

I milked a little more into the bucket and examined it and found the stringy/lumpy look but also a very small blood clot. After milking for a little while the milk seemed to get whiter but then suddenly it wouldn't give anymore. I massaged the udder and tried and got a little more. I found it was giving in little amounts (maybe 3 small sperts) and then clotting (I assume) and I would rub and try. This went on for a while until I just decided I wasn't getting anywhere. The other teats (except the one the calf has been nursing) was milked out.

I figured this might be mastitis so I iodined all the teats and put some bag balm on. The cow was getting restles since she had been standing there for almost 2 hours.

She doesnt seem sore or hot. She gave me absolutely no trouble milking that quarter until like I said coming up on 2 hours she got tired of it.
I dont think there is a fever in it though after milking for a while it is a little hard to tell since it gets warm from the rubbing.

This look like mastitis or something else?
If so what is the best treatment (I thought milking out is best it just didn't seem possible). By the time I gave up I had gotten about 1.5 or 2 quarts out of it.

Also! I believe there is edema in the area of the udder. I am not sure but if I press in on the udder area for this teat I can almost (I think) feel the impressions for a few seconds.

Please see my other posts for history on this cow ("Our first cow").

Thank you all,
Mike


EDITED:
Wanted to add. She doesn't seem off feed or anything else.
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Postby edb130 » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:12 pm

This certainly appears to be mastitis. At the local feed & farm supply you can find mastitis treatments that come in a small tube that you insert into the teat and inject. Follow label directions and within a few days she should get better. I used to milk 150 head and saw this occasionally. The blood isn't abnormal and should clear up with the mastitis.
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Postby milkmaid » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:20 pm

Well, bloody milk is relatively normal at calving. Sometimes I've joked it looks like strawberry milkshake...where's the little emoticon that looks like he's sick? LOL. Edema in the udder is also normal. Some cows get an excessive amount and there are drugs to bring that swelling down. Otherwise most cows will come down to normal on their own. Have a picture of her udder? I did see the one with the calf nursing but it was hard to get an impression of exactly what the udder looked like with the calf's head in the way. ;-)

On to the milk. It's hard to say for sure as it's more of a case by case basis what I'd do. Certainly anything but white milk in clean, clear streams is "abnormal". Now, it could be that the infrequent, incomplete milking of you and the calf (no offense intended) either started a new infection or aggrevated a subclinical infection.

Of course frequent milking does help, and in some cases a heavy milking cow will clear some infections on her own (like ecoli) or frequent milking will help clear an infection (like several calves on a nurse cow - just got a culture result back on one nurse cow that confirmed that) and in other cases antibiotics are necessary.

Best thing to do if possible would be to put a few squirts of milk in a small clean container and seal it, put it in the freezer. Have a vet clinic around? Some vet clinics have facilities to run cultures and they can tell you if and what you're dealing with and then suggest a treatment plan as well as prescribe the drugs (most mastitis treatments are prescription only). If you had the culture started tomorrow morning, the vet could probably give you the results in about 18 hours. That's about how long it takes me to get results back.

On the other hand, sometimes it's just a brief thing, and the evidence of mastitis will be significantly less the next milking and gone the next. Re-evaluate it in the morning. You may not need to do anything about it.

OK, brief rundown of drugs and then I'm off for the night. There's another dairy gal on here who may give you some input tomorrow.

Today/Cefa-Lak. Same drug. Cephapirin Sodium. 96 hour milk withdrawal, no vet prescription, works for about everything. How well it works depends on who you're talking to. Some folks swear by it, others think it's worthless. I treated a cow with it this evening...so there's where I stand on it. Runs a little under $2/tube and you do 1 per milking/12 hours.

Pirsue. Pirlimycin hydrochloride. Prescription only. 36 hour withdrawal. Works on staph and strep, not ecoli. Some folks swear by it...I'm not overly impressed. $3-4/tube depending on where you get it and it's once every 24 hours.

Spectramast LC. Ceftiofur hydrochloride. Prescription only. 72 hour withdrawal. Works on ecoli and some on staph/strep. I've found it to work well on ecoli. $3-4/tube depending on where you get it and it's also once every 24 hours.

Then there's a few other less common ones like Amoximast and other penicillin types. Sometimes you'll combine an intramammary (IMM) treatment with a systemic treatment - intramuscular or subQ - of something else. Say your standard LA200 or penicillin G or Excenel (same stuff as Spectramast, just packaged for IM injection).

Keep in mind withdrawal times on any antibiotics if you intend to drink the milk. The labels will tell you most of the withdrawal times - if they don't, you're using it off-label which isn't a big deal, but it usually means longer withdrawals. For instance, use of penicillin G procaine/benzathine (usual brand name Twin Pen) would be an off-label use; it has a 7 day withdrawal.

Hope that helps. Any more questions feel free to ask...I'll be back online tomorrow morning.
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Postby MikeJoel » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:27 pm

Thanks.
Not vet clinic in the area, in fact it is pulling teeth to get a vet out here.

Thanks for the information will work on it again tomorrow and pray there is a clearing up.

Mike
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Postby born2run » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:25 am

I've had great results using Pirsue, but another choice (and one that we're using right now) is AmoxiMast, literally IMM Amoxicillin. I've used about everything possible...ToDay, CefaLak, etc. etc. Spectramast works wonders on E. Coli. I'm one that will swear by Pirsue, IF it is given in conjuction with Ampicillin (Polyflex) and Banamine. Since you aren't milking her, I'm not sure how to tell you to treat. Mild cases can be brought around with one tube of Pirsue, even moderate cases may take longer and more treating. We treat every 8 or 16 hours until it's brought under control. Herd is on 3x milking though.

Edema is common with calving...you could give Dexamethasone if it's extreme.
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Postby MikeJoel » Wed Apr 19, 2006 6:17 am

We began milking about 2 days ago. Started milking just enough to releive pressure and built up to emptying her (except for the calf's teat, and now of course the infected one).

Mike
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Postby born2run » Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:35 am

Milking her out completely will certainly go a ways for future prevention of mastitis. One thing you can try too if you want that bad quarter to milk out prior to treating is giving oxytocin. I certainly wouldn't let the cow go without giving her "something" IMM. These cases can spiral from mild to severe extremely fast.
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Postby milkmaid » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:17 pm

So how did the cow look this morning? If you're hard pressed to find a vet then you're kind of on your own. Do you have ANY drugs on hand? If not you'll have to find a place to get them if needed - most vet clinics will order them in for you, and even small-animal clinics CAN get the drugs you need. I honestly can't tell you what I'd suggest you go with...it's frequently just a play-it-by-ear (or sight) type of thing. Without culture results you're just guessing.

I think I'd probably suggest something broad-spectrum since you're not certain what you're dealing with. Something like Today, or Amoximast will hit most types, or Dariclox (all three are in different penicillin classes), or else Spectramast. The latter is relatively broad spectrum even though my vet has always said it "only" works on gram-negative bacteria, when I really studied the label it turns out it's labelled for several gram-positives like the staph and streps.

In the meantime I certainly agree with born2run - get that quarter milked completely out twice a day. Getting the others also milked completely out wouldn't be a bad idea. What's with the calf right now? still have the two penned together? I'd leave them that way for now. When calves only get to nurse twice a day they tend to gorge themselves, which can lead to scours -- and you don't need to deal with that on top of everything else.
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Postby MikeJoel » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:28 pm

Yes they are still penned together.
Here is what is going on.

This morning started with hot compresses and some massaging.
Worked 3 hours (this cow is the most patient animal I have ever seen) on her. Most the time was spent on the bad teat (but remember Im new to milking by hand so all of it takes a little while, though I am much better than I was just a couple days ago).
I got all but the calf's teat and the bad one stripped.

The bad teat started with what seemed to be better color than the previous night (not really a sign of blood). Then it got to the clots (I was able to get about a quart of what looks like normal milk before it clotted). The clots are like moist drying glue (or warm wet cheese). I actually had to pull on through the nipple it was so long. Then I got very watery fluid (still clots). I dont remember how much I got but it wasnt a hole lot after the clots started coming.

Then today I went out twice to milk the bad teat. Both times I didnt get a lot (maybe two cups) but the first it was like watery. The second I dont remember. Then I milked tonight. I am afraid wasn't a whole lot of milk since it took me so long to work with her earlier she didn't have a full 12 hours. I did milk the other two teats out again leaving the calf's and the bad.

The bad teat I worked with last and only got like a cup of what appeared to be normal looking milk (but like I said it always looks normal when I start). Before it was stopping because of clotting. Tonight it seemed different (remember I dont know a lot about this stuff). It was like after I milked it for a little while it was slowing down. After a little while I would get a good spray then not a good one then almost nothing. I found if I paused a second the teat would fill up more. I kept this up until it was obvious that the time taking to get the smallest amount of milk was becoming unreasonable (and the cow was again getting tired of standing, she has been so patient).

So that is how I left it.
I iodined before I started and then again when I got done (I don't iodine the one the calf is on). I also am a little worried about the one the calf is on, it always seems to have milk in it (I haven't seen it yet soft like it has been milked out). I also wonder if the calf is getting enough to fill out like she should.

The edema is still there (I suspect it may be contributing to the slow refill, but like I said I dont know).

Others here dont want to use the meds if it doesn't absolutely have to (I am for using it since I dont see how we can milk it out like it is).

What would be the signs that it is progressing and need medical attention? She seems fine (she hasn't even acted like this teat is sore), she is eating and drinking well.

I am trying to get a date from the vet. I also want to pick up something tomorrow in case it just gets worse it will be here.

Thank you
Mike


PS I was told that no shots need to be given the calf. They said Maine is a TB and Bangs free state. Is this possible?
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Postby milkmaid » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:40 pm

The bad teat started with what seemed to be better color than the previous night (not really a sign of blood). Then it got to the clots (I was able to get about a quart of what looks like normal milk before it clotted). The clots are like moist drying glue (or warm wet cheese). I actually had to pull on through the nipple it was so long. Then I got very watery fluid (still clots). I dont remember how much I got but it wasnt a hole lot after the clots started coming.

Then today I went out twice to milk the bad teat. Both times I didnt get a lot (maybe two cups) but the first it was like watery. The second I dont remember. Then I milked tonight. I am afraid wasn't a whole lot of milk since it took me so long to work with her earlier she didn't have a full 12 hours. I did milk the other two teats out again leaving the calf's and the bad.

Others here dont want to use the meds if it doesn't absolutely have to (I am for using it since I dont see how we can milk it out like it is).


OK- yes this does sound like mastitis. Let's make sure we have something understood right now. ;-) A lot of folks are advocates for no antibiotics and just leaving it be, or they think that a hard, hot quarter can be helped by massaging or compresses, etc. Not that it's a bad thing to use the latter approach, but plain and simple there's a raging infection inside the quarter and external stuff isn't going to do a thing to control what's going on inside. Either the cow's immune system has to bring the infection under control on her own, or she has to be helped by use of antibiotics.

I'm in favor of the latter. Cows can't always get the infection under control on their own and can turn into 3-quarter cows almost overnight with a severe infection. Depending on how bad it is the quarter will be killed by the infection and no longer produce milk. Or the cow will be able to clear most of the infection but not all of it, and you'll have a chronic, lingering infection that shows up as a few clots at the beginning of stripping.

So, yes the cow has an infection. Watery liquid is really bad - I'll be honest with you. When it gets to that point and/or solid clots or bloody clots, the quarter is on its way down. In other words you may lose it. (More specifically, she may lose it.)

Do you have any drugs on hand? Literally, anything? penicillin G? What would be best would be to get that treated...well, NOW.

If not, I'd go to the vet clinic and see what they've got. My first guess might be ecoli - it sometimes takes out a quarter like that. (For that matter, some strains of ecoli can kill the cow overnight too.) I'd probably go with Spectramast LC if they have it on hand. Excenel RTU (or Naxcel) is the same thing and if they have a fresh bottle and you have a sterile needle/syringe you can take it direct from the bottle and infuse it into the quarter. Vet should be able to get you some infusion tips for a syringe.

Next choice might be straight penicillin from the bottle. Again, needs to be sterile. Pen G procaine...or Twin Pen which is Pen G procaine AND benzathine. (Longer lasting stuff.) I am certain any vet would have this on hand, or you could get it from almost any farm/ranch store that stocks drugs. It's not a prescription drug.

Use ToDAY or Cefa-Lak if there's nothing else available. Shucks, use what ever you can get your hands on, for that matter!

(Remember to take a sample and put it in your freezer - not 'fridge, freezer - just in case you can find a place that will run a culture for you. It's hard to act without knowing WHAT you're dealing with. A small-animal vet could probably order in the plates (McConkie -sp- & blood...blood agar, I think) without too much trouble. Maybe they could put the milk samples on the plates for you... and send them to the hospital! :idea: My vet runs quite a few tests over there, believe it or not. He is a "doctor"...of animals. LOL. If you could do THAT and then take pictures of the plates afterwards I've seen several and I think I can help you read them.)

Tonight it seemed different (remember I dont know a lot about this stuff). It was like after I milked it for a little while it was slowing down. After a little while I would get a good spray then not a good one then almost nothing. I found if I paused a second the teat would fill up more. I kept this up until it was obvious that the time taking to get the smallest amount of milk was becoming unreasonable


That's where the quarter is "milked out". No matter how much you milk a cow, you can always get a little bit more. Once the teat is no longer "full" as you're milking it, you're getting towards "empty". Reach up and touch the side of her udder above that respective quarter. If she's not extremely swollen with edema, you'll be able to press in a little bit to a lot, depending on the udder/cow. That's "empty".

Sure wish I could show you this stuff...it's a whole lot easier to show than to try to type over the internet and explain. Tell you what. I'll find the batteries for my camera and I'll take pictures tomorrow morning of udders. Before and after milking. Fresh cows and mid-lactation. Visual isn't near as good as getting your hands on the udder, but it's close. Hopefully it'll help you.

Oh...and feel free to strip ALL four quarters. Even "the calf's" quarter. It'll make that calf nurse off the other quarters if her's is empty. ;-)
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Postby MikeJoel » Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:33 am

Yeah. I think I know what it should be when empty.
We have emptied down her left side (every time we milk now).
It is like a collapsed bag, that has even caved in on itself and no milk comes out any more. I get it to the point where it isn't milking and then wait and milk it then wait and milk it till there is like 3 or 4 seconds to get a little dripping.

I have no drugs on the place. I am trying to find a place I can get some. Also I am putting in a call to the vet to try to get some information and get a SET date.

Aaaarrg!
Mike

PS Dont know why I posted this in here. Thought I was posting to health area.
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Postby milkmaid » Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:21 am

You didn't post it in here. :lol: :lol:

Macon's been moving things around lately. Some of the other dairy related posts have been moved to a new section of the board...see the "Got Milk?" section near the Everything Else board. :) I guess this post just got tossed over here in the shuffle.

Anyways...pictures.

Mastitis on the side/grate this morning after prestripping a chronic 2nd lactation cow. It has been cultured as staph aureus. We did try treating her; 8 days on Pirsue - it came back a day or two after coming off antibiotics. :(
Image

Rear view on a mid lactation cow after prepping and just prior to putting the milker on.
Image

Same cow a few minutes later after being milked out.
Image

Some cows don't show too much, visibly. Fresh cow, about 10-14 days in milk. Before...
Image

Same one, a few minutes later. With iodine teat dip on.
Image

Another very fresh cow just after milking.
Image

Yeah. I think I know what it should be when empty.
We have emptied down her left side (every time we milk now).
It is like a collapsed bag, that has even caved in on itself and no milk comes out any more. I get it to the point where it isn't milking and then wait and milk it then wait and milk it till there is like 3 or 4 seconds to get a little dripping.


Yep, you're right - that's the point where she's milked out and there's really no point in continuing to mess with that quarter. It just takes up time.

My apologies if you have a slow internet connection. I'm on DSL and so sometimes I forget how long it'll take pictures to load. I tried to keep them pretty small. If it's taking you too long to load them, let me know...I'll edit and put the pictures in a new thread over on the dairy board.
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Postby MikeJoel » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:09 am

Actually we are about 35 to 45 miles from the closest town.
Cell phones dont work.

BUT
We have DSL. Dont ask me why, I dont understand how they put DSL out here but other simpler things (like being in "organised territory") :lol:

Thanks for the pics. That helps me confirm I was stripping her.


Called two vets and one dairy guy out here. Both said to watch her and keep milking that quarter until nothing comes out (even though isnt actually empty) a few times a day. Said if she comes off her feed or a temperature starts then call to get meds for her.

I wanted to go ahead with something but it is not my cow only so......

I will keep you informed on what is happening.
Thank you
Mike
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Postby born2run » Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:50 am

Do you live anywhere close to a farm supply store? Around here you can get the likes of ToDay without a vet. Don't think it's that way with Pirsue, and for sure some of the other meds I mentioned...Flu-Nix (Banamine) etc. The reason why I'm so fast to treat is the drop in milk production. Obviously I'm trying to get a cow back to maximum production and lower her SCC.
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Postby milkmaid » Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:37 pm

Do keep in mind that the sooner you treat mastitis, the easier it is to get it to clear up. That first picture? Cow was left for about a week or two before she was treated. Took all of 8 days to get it to clear up, and then it came right back after stopping treatment.

On another quarter, same cow, we treated it a day or so after inital clinical signs, took 3 days, quarter cleared up and has been good ever since. In this case, the bad one will either "die" on its own soon, or we'll fill it with something to kill the infection...and the quarter. Not the ideal option, but at this point the only option due to the severity of the infection. The goal of doing that is to keep the infection from spreading to a different quarter and/or other cows.

Speaking of which - be careful when milking your cow to do the bad quarter last or else dry your hands when going from the bad quarter to a good one. It's too easy to spread bacteria from one teat to another.

In most cases of mastitis - well, about 99% of the ones I've seen - the cows do not go off feed, but they can turn into 3 quarter cows overnight and you never notice a change in their attitude or appetite.

On the ones that DO go off feed -- let me be honest with you here. If your nearest vet clinic is 45 minutes away and that cow goes off feed Saturday afternoon and you have no drugs on hand, you may lose her. Cows that are sick enough to go off feed due to an infection of any sort are in serious trouble. You do NOT want to wait that long.

Besides the fact that if she does go off feed and you wait to treat until then, the infection is well established and getting it under control is going to be a chore.

Now I understand what you said about her not only being your cow, but also the rest of the "clan's" cow. ;-) What I'd do in your shoes is go and get the drugs. It isn't going to cost that much and you'll then have it on hand. You don't have to use it now...I get the feeling you want their permission. But at least get it and keep it just in case you need it.

You know, you're getting a crash course in milking with this cow. :lol: Not the ideal way and not anything I'd wish on anyone, but stick with it and you'll be surprised how much you learn. Hands-on experience is the best teacher and there'll be a lot you'll learn that couldn't learn out of a book.
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