Mastitis in sheep
Mastitis is one of the most critical problems in sheep and goats because it reduces the quantity, quality of milk and causes the growth of body cells. It is an inflammation of the mammary gland which can be caused by injuries, stress or pathogenic microorganisms, bacteria that invade the mammary gland. Many bacteria cause mastitis in, including streptococcus sp, Staphylococcus sp, Pasteurella sp and coliforms such as E. coli. The exact type of bacteria that causes mastitis can only be determined by laboratory analysis.
It is one of the most critical problems in dairy farming of sheep and goats.
It is usually observed shortly after birth until the period after weaning. Mastitis can be clinical or subclinical. Clinical mastitis (chronic or acute) involves natural changes in the breast. The swollen breast is hot and sometimes causes pain on touch. In severe cases, the blood supply is affected, and blue discolouration may result, hence the name “blue bag”. Mastitis ewes become febrile, go out of food and refuse to allow their lambs to breastfeed.
Sheep with subclinical mastitis usually appear relatively healthy, but there is a reduction in milk supply and the growth of lumps in their breasts; hence the name “hard bag”. This is probably the most severe form of mastitis as it is often undetected.
Prevention of Mastitis
One of the best ways to prevent mastitis is to keep the living, milking and birth areas clean.
-Animals showing signs of mastitis should be separated from the rest of the herd and treated with antibiotics. The infirmary area should be at least 50 meters away
-Good nutrition is essential for a healthy herd. The nutritional requirements of the animals differ significantly from the stage of production. During the last six weeks of pregnancy, energy and protein need increase rapidly because 70% of a lamb’s birth weight increases in the previous six weeks of pregnancy and the breast increases in preparation for lactation
.-Systematic disinfection and cleaning of the stable area.
-The cleanliness of the milking system must be checked daily, as milk residues and moisture that remain inside the milking system such as piping, breastfeeding are germs.
-The preparation of the breast before bleeding involves a series of manipulations, which aim to reduce the number of germs in the mammary gland and consequently in the nipple and milk, but mainly to prevent germs from entering the mammary gland.
-Proper operation and maintenance of the milking parlor is essential to avoid nipple injuries (vacuum level, pulse rate).