Promote Cow Health with Udder Care
Taking care of the animals at your ranch is not an easy task. While your cattle and sheep might seem healthy, many things can happen, which would impact their overall well-being. These can be diseases, bacterial infections, injuries, and many other things. For dairy animals, their milk production must remain at its best, especially when you are ranching for profit. Because of that, a cow or sheep needs proper udder care. The health of the animal’s udders is vital for its productivity, welfare, and also your ranch management. Let’s look into udder care in more detail.
Routine Udder Care
Before and after milking the animals, you will need to clean the udders. You can simply use running water for that. But if you want to disinfect the area, you can also apply iodine. As another method, you can apply special disinfectant solutions for udder care. After cleaning, use a paper towel to dry the teats. Whether you milk manually or with a machine, make sure to disinfect before starting and after finishing. Check often for blockage in teats or any lesions that will need immediate treatment.
Caring for Your Animals Every Day
If you want to support your animals on a daily basis, try adding vitamin E to their diet. Animal health depends a lot on this vitamin. That is why using it in dairy animals will help support their immune system. It would also help prevent such diseases as mastitis. Vitamin E also plays an essential role in nervous, reproductive, and muscular systems, as well as udder health. Another thing to keep an eye on is the possible damage the sun can cause to the animal’s udder. This usually would not be a problem. But there are certain plants that animals eat, which increases their sensitivity to sunlight. Udders do not have a lot of hair coverage. That is why they are more exposed in this case than the rest of the animal’s body.
Udder care does not have a short-term fix. It is a constant process that will help your animals maintain their udder health. Keep the udder soft and prevent cracking, skin abrasions, or chapping. For this, you can use one of the ointment products which are widely available these days. The use of ointments is also a good idea because they often contain disinfecting liquid and can even be used for treating some infections.
Udder Care and Injuries
It is easy for the animal to injure its udders. But when this happens, they need to be treated as soon as possible. Prevention is also vital in many udder injuries. For example, cows could scrape their udders if their feet are not trimmed, which is why proper hoof care could help. Make sure also to keep the bedding clean so that the animal does not catch an infection. You can treat smaller scrapes and wounds by using an antibiotic or pain-relieving ointment, then keep the wound covered with medical tape. In case the wound is larger, you may need veterinarian assistance in dealing with the injury.
Proper hygiene is usually all that is needed to prevent most of the udder infections. That is why it is very important to keep the udders clean and taken care of. In case there is an injury or scratch, the first response should be to try and prevent infection. If the cow’s udder rubs against her thighs, it can cause udder scald. It is an infection that results in skin rash and a strong smell from the area. This condition is also bad for the productivity of the animal. Thus, a quick consult with your vet will be helpful.
The cow’s udder is at risk for infection in case of teats being exposed to pathogens. It might be the case also if there is already an infection in the udder, or if the pathogens manage to get into the teat duct. When bacteria multiply, it might make the condition worse, but you can manage the animal’s exposure. For instance, check for teat sores or blocked ducts, and make sure to use clean bedding. Keeping the teat duct in healthy conditions is perhaps the most important step for the prevention of serious bacterial infections in cows. If you notice that the cow’s udder has become swollen, or you see the animal in pain when you milk it, along with such signs as diarrhea or dehydration, this might be pointing to the cow developing mastitis.
Dealing with Mastitis
Improper udder care could lead to the development of mastitis, a bacterial infection that is very common in dairy animals. This infection of the udder results in inflammation that could cause clotting or flaking of milk. It can also cause swelling of the animal’s udder, pain or sensitivity in the area, or loss of appetite. Usually, milk changes do not happen in milder cases of the disease. That is why it might be difficult to diagnose it. Paying attention to the animal’s behavior, in this case, would be the most helpful way to detect the presence of the illness. When dealing with mild or moderate mastitis in dairy animals, you need to put in place treatment protocols. You can also work with your veterinarian to determine whether the animal needs antibiotics.
Often a producer would first send a culture sample for analysis to determine whether the animal’s immune system has already dealt with infection. But this is not always an accurate strategy. That is because infection below a certain limit will often not show in a test. So even for those animals with negative culture tests, antibiotic treatment might still be beneficial. For mild and moderate cases, there are special antibiotic tubes that would help fight off the (remaining) infection. These are generally broad-spectrum drugs that do not target a specific type of bacteria. But some infections tend to clear on their own, so consult your veterinarian for the best treatment protocols.