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What is mastitis?

Before explaining what it takes to control and prevent mastitis, let's answer these questions: what is mastitis and where does it come from? Other words for mastitis are mammary gland inflammation, breast inflammation or udder inflammation. It occurs in humans and animals. It is a common health problem in livestock farming and often has different causes. It is even one of the most common diseases on dairy farms.

The cause of mastitis in cows

Udders can become inflamed as a result of an infection. It is not a specific bacterium, as in salmonellosis. With Mastitis there are several culprits. The most famous are the Escherichia coli and the Staphylococcus aureus. There are also the Streptococcus uberis, Streptococcus dysgalactieae and Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. And we're not there yet. In addition to bacteria, yeasts, molds and algae can also cause udder infections. Damage to the teats can also lead to inflammation. The less hygienic the cow's living environment is, the greater the risk of mastitis.

The health of the cow suffers. In the worst cases, the cow has pain and a fever. She also eats and ruminates less. Meanwhile, her milk production is declining. This disease costs dairy farms a lot of money. In the whole of the Netherlands for example, the damage is estimated to be more than 100 million euros.

Combating mastitis

Hygiene plays the leading role in combating mastitis. Cows infect each other with pathogenic bacteria via the milking equipment. The teats must be thoroughly clean before contact with the milking machine, and post-treatment is also very important. At the same time, disinfection is a risk. It should not damage or make the skin vulnerable. Good measures are to remove hair on the udders by burning or shaving, so that no dirt gets stuck in it. And use a cloth or paper per cow when cleaning the teats.

Infection with bacteria also comes via a different route. Standing water in a drinking trough, for example, is a source of germs. Many bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts can be found in drinking troughs and pipes of water systems. Together they form a slippery layer called biofilm. Biofilm is actually a collaboration of all those micro-organisms. Together they are stronger and pose a danger to your livestock.

Clean drinking water has a dual effect against Mastitis

Clean drinking water prevents contamination and at the same time ensures an increased resistance. Animals with a strong resistance are less susceptible to infections and are less likely to get sick. If a cow takes in fewer germs, her body does not have to expend energy to fight them. In this way as much energy as possible goes to (milk) production. Have you ever measured the somatic cell count in your drinking trough? Because the quality of the water in the drinking trough is 25 times worse than at the source. Research by WUR shows that a mastitis cow costs you €240, a drinking trough examination can be had for as little as a few tens. Clean drinking water for your cows also helps improve the cow's immune system, making her less likely to contract diseases like mastitis. Drinking troughs are a source of pathogens, including those of clinical and subclinical mastitis. With Watter, the water is completely clean and ruled out as a source of infection.

Watter: clean drinking water and disinfectant

We developed a technology that produces a non-harmful disinfectant at your location. A Watter device uses electricity, water and salt to make a biodegradable agent containing most active substance HOCl that kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae and yeasts harmless. It is 100% safe and germ-free drinking water, and can also be used as a disinfectant for udders, surfaces, housing, etc. No unsafe chemicals, so it's not irritating to the udders.

So what is mastitis? Something that urgently needs your attention. If you do nothing, it can cost you a lot of money in damages.

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