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Environmental mastitis is caused by bacteria such as Strep. uberis and coliforms that survive in the cow’s environment. High numbers of these bacteria may contaminate teats, especially if udders are wet and exposed to mud/manure, which can occur when cows are calving.
You can help prevent environmental mastitis by calving in a clean and dry environment, finding and treating new mastitis cases, and milking cows as soon as possible after calving.
The risk of environmental mastitis is greatly increased when cows are held for long periods in wet, muddy areas. Areas where cows stand and lie down should be kept clear of manure and dirt, as keeping udders and teats clean will reduce mastitis caused by environmental bacteria. Regular cleaning and maintenance of these mud prone areas will make keeping udders clean easier.
For information on the difference between environmental and cow-associated (contagious) mastitis and the best ways to deal with them, see Guideline 1 and Technote 1. Here you’ll also find advice on ideal calving environments (suitable materials) and acceptable numbers of clinical cases around calving.
It is important to clean and maintain areas that frequently become muddy and areas where cows are stood off-pasture. To help with this see Guideline 26. If you are considering building infrastructure, or have short term solutions see Technote 26 for advice.