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Mastitis - when is it safe to reduce treating

 
Annie Hope
Posts: 88
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Hi,

I wrote a while back about a stubborn cow that is hard to move from her calf. We have separated them, and have worked out how to coax her into the stall with food, and someone shut the door behind her before she can back out. Ironically she will come to the pen to be milked (or to get the cut long grass?) some morning and then still play up about being locked in the stall (we sometimes lock her in the pen for a while so she is hungry enough to go in the stall).

She had three badly cut teats with little milk that obviously were painful to milk, so we were just milking one side, and getting about 3-4 litres (quarts) most days, which is heaps for our needs and a bit to another young calf that is poorly at the end of winter (we are in NZ) and to the pig when she steps in the bucket. As she is not in calf and needed to put energy into that, thought we would continue with this at least till our other cow calves in october.

Four nights ago, I thought a teat was warm, and milked her other quarters, and had about a half cup of milk out of one, clear yellow out of the second, and heaps of pussy lumps and yellow fluid out of the third. I started milking her bad quarters every few hours and at least once during the night. The next day I bought some Apple cider vinegar and started giving her that for good measure as well. I also asked the neighbour dairy farmer, who said it sounded bad and that we could have permanent loss in two quarters, but advised not to rush into penicillin till we could decide its fate, as you could send them to the meat-works with mastitis, but not once penicillin had been given, but to watch for signs of the cow drooping.

By the time my husband returned home from extended work the third morning (yesterday morning) to discuss it, the teat that was giving yellow fluid was giving a teaspoon of white milk, and the other teat was giving only about a tablespoon of yellow and pus. By this morning, after about 4-5 hour after the last milking, it has giving barely a tsp of yellowy fluid.

It is in an outside stall, that with major rain is very mucky despite putting down old straw and cardboard, and she has limited room to sit/lie down. IT is hard to clean out without moving her. But once I let her out, it might take a bit to let her back in again. If she has cleared up the infection in one teat and reduced the other one significantly, she obviously has a well working immune system. Would it now be safe to just let her go, and check her daily or if we are lucky enough to coax her, twice a day. Our should I continue milking the final teat every few hours till it has totally cleared up.
 
Adam Klaus
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gardener
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Great example of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Really should have followed the good advice given a month ago, you really do have a bit of an evolving disaster on your hands now.

All bets are off, I cant figure what you have got going for you in the present situation. Difficult cow, unclean stall, damaged teats, mastitic udder. Wow.

If you care about the cow, I would let her out to pasture and not look back. Stop milking her. Let her try to recover on her own. The dirty stall and cut teats are a disasterous combination. Her ill temperment with handling/training/milking is not going to improve anytime soon. Probably never. So maybe follow your neighbor's experienced opinion and take her to the abbatoir. I would trust a pro at this point, your management seems to have led to nothing but disaster. I care a lot about cows and feel sorry for the animal in a situation like this.

Good advice, it needs a welcome ear to do any good. sorry your situation is such a mess.
 
Annie Hope
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hi,

Just to be clear, the cuts on her teats have not been sucked/milked for a month, and are well healed over by now. We did remove the calf as advised.

She is improving about coming into the stall. She is now quiet and friendly - sniffing our face etc. when she is out in the paddock or once she is in the stall. She just has a thing about entering and being locked in the stall, but she is improving every time we milk her. She will come in the pen and stand at the edge of the stall waiting for food when she sees me cutting grass for the other animals.

It is easy to say we should have stopped milking her, but things were improving, we were learning to get her in safely and gently, and with less effort each time, and with a husband on minimum wage as the only income, a mortgage and a very limited food budget to feed a family with a toddler nutritiously, then that bit of milk makes a big difference.

 
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