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Link Between Mastitis and Fertility

Mastitis and fertility are the two major causes of involuntary culling in the UK dairy industry. We all know about the direct costs of treatment and discarding milk, but have you considered the other costs of mastitis in your cows?

Udder health, production and reproduction are closely linked. Clinical mastitis before the first service can delay it, on average, up to 14 days. This effect on fertility is thought to be caused by 2 mechanisms:

1. The immune mediators released during the inflammatory response disrupt the development of the follicle and subsequent implantation of the foetus.

2. Stress hormones and naturally occurring steroids suppress the production of oestrogens in the body, preventing the expression of bulling, making cows in heat harder to spot.

For these reasons, identifying and treating mastitis as early as possible is essential. Treatment protocols should include an anti-inflammatory alongside extended tubing and systemic antibiotics.