Mastitis and afterbirth problem?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by JHinCA, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. JHinCA

    JHinCA Well-Known Member

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    Our family cow, a Normande x Jersey, calved 2 weeks ago today. This is her second calf, the first since we have had her. We are leaving the calf on her at this point and getting about 3 to 4 additional gallons of milk a day. The calf seems to be growing and thriving. The cow is eating well and her temperature is 101.5.

    2 days ago at the morning milking I got only about a gallon of milk that had a strange salty taste and was unnaturally thick. I did not think of mastitis because the udder was not hard or hot and in my very limited experience I thought mastitis was only in one quarter at a time. Since then the milk has gone back to a normal amount and flavor, until this morning.

    This morning's milking was a normal amount and tastes fine, but took a long time to filter, so I used the CMT and found that the left rear quarter shows mastitis. It does not feel hard or hot and the milk looks normal. DH went out and bought some Today to treat her with. I went out to check her temperature again and decide whether to use the Today right now or try just milking and massaging that quarter really frequently and see if that might clear it up.

    She was lying down chewing cud when I got out there and on the ground next to her was a blob of yellowish and bloody mucousy stuff that appears to have come out of her vagina. When she stood up there was also quite a puddle of milk on the ground that seems like it leaked out of her teat with mastitis. Is this normal? The day after she calved we found what we thought was the whole placenta on the ground. It was like a whitish sack with some bloody livery looking spots and was about 2 gallons in a 5 gallon bucket when we cleaned it up. I thought that if there was retained placenta it smelled really bad? This discharge she had today did not smell bad.

    Otherwise she seems healthy and happy.

    Any advice or suggestions are very much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Jean
     
  2. pygmywombat

    pygmywombat Well-Known Member

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    Mastitis- can occupy one or all quarters when the cow is infected. Since she's not showing any signs like hard, hot, swollen quarters I wouldn't bother with the Today treatment. Just be sure to milk her out well and do the infected quarter last.

    It doesn't sound like she retained the placenta- by 2 weeks she would be smelly and dripping some unholy discharge. Cows have odd discharges for a week or two after calving, as long as there isn't a smell its fine. It may have been discharge from a post- calving heat, sometimes those show up sooner then usual after calving. The placenta is a big, red, fleshy looking thing, the sack you saw was probably the amnotic sac that was around the calf. She probably ate the placenta.
     

  3. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

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    Possibly metritis while she has the antibiotics in her give her 5cc. Lutalyse and a second 5cc. 10 days later. That should get her cleaned up and start her cycling again.
     
  4. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

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    Possibly metritis while she has the antibiotics in her give her 5cc. Lutalyse and a second 5cc. 10 days later. That should get her cleaned up and start her cycling again.
     
  5. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can certainly treat her, and in your case I would since you are depending on her for house milk. It's really nice that she isn't showing a temp or a hard quarter. The antibiotic treatment has a chance to do a good job.

    What you saw before, sack with liverish looking spots, was the placenta. The liverish spots are the cotyledons that transfer the nourishment to the calf from the walls of the uterus. The glop behind her is nothing to worry about. Cows will discharge for awhile after calving as the uterus involutes. If you see a creamy coloured non-transparent discharge, that would be pus and a sign of infection, but normal run of the mill mucus with some blood in it is perfectly normal. Cows don't get infections in the uterus too easily, and if it was a normal birth (no vet work, no rearranging the calf, etc) with nothing to introduce bacteria into the uterus you won't see them often.

    I would bet the reason she has mastitis in the quarter that leaked is *because* it leaks. Easy milking quarters are much easier to infect with environmental dirt (you know what I mean by that) because when she squirts out milk the teat canal is open, and when the milk stops squirting, it takes awhile to close up again. All the time it's open it's available for bacteria to get in there. Not a whole lot you can do about cows like that except to keep the environment clean where she lays down. Commercially, cows are dipped with disinfectant after milking and ideally go out to eat at a feed bunk or pasture, so they don't lay down until sometime after they are milked. The teat canal will have closed by then and the chance of mastitis is lessened.

    From what you say you cow is normal and healthy with a case of mastitis that should clear up with treatment and/or with the constant milking you say you are doing now. Do NOT expect the calf to clean up that quarter, btw. I've heard people say over and over a calf will clean up a cow, but that's only if the calf is pretty big and needing a lot of milk, that is, a month or two old. A baby will not take much for awhile and as you noticed, that quarter isn't tasting so good noe. The calf will avoid it since it has three other good faucets to work on. So go after that quarter and get it cleared up and she should be good to go. :)

    Jennifer
     
  6. JHinCA

    JHinCA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses and advice. I milked that quarter out about 6 times yesterday and by the evening milking the CMT showed only a trace of mastitis. This morning it showed even less. Since this seems to be working, we will skip the antibiotics this time.

    A dairy friend of ours suggested getting a type of teat dip that leaves a coating so there is no possiblilty of bacteria getting in. I have not been able to find it locally and would have to order it. What do you think of using that kind of teat dip when the calf is on her? I guess he can just use the other three teats?

    The discharge was opaque and yellowish. She had what seemed to be a very easy birth--we thought she looked like she might be starting labor and came back to check on her an hour later to find her cleaning up a large healthy looking bull calf. So there was no chance for infection there. Do you think we should have the vet look at her? As I said she is eating well, has no foul odors and seems comfortable.
     
  7. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

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    Never treat if it's not necessary. It sounds like everything is going well.....just feed her and keep an eye on her. If she start having a foul odor or discharge THEN talk to your vet. Glad things are going well and good luck.
     
  8. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    A cow can clean for 2-3 weeks, and generally it is a reddish, strange looking type stuff. Comes out in chunks, then clears up. If she cleaned (placenta etc came out) after calving, then what you see is the excess that is left in there, that her body naturally cleans out. To minimize mastitis clean her teats off if possible, dip her before and after, and keep her area clean. But even with these precautions you can still get mastitis (some are more prone than others).


    Jeff
     
  9. JHinCA

    JHinCA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice. Being new to this, I didn't know what to think.

    The cow continues to eat well and give about 4 gals/day in addition to what the calf takes. He is looking very sturdy and seems to be growing fast. We have moved them to a cleaner, less muddy area so she will be less likely to re-infect that leaky quarter. I am continuing to be careful with cleaning teats and udder before milking and dipping after.