Mastitis in Ewes


Summary written by Dr Gavin Walkins and Professor J E T Jones
Taken from Moredun Foundation Newsheet Volume 4 No. 6



  • lambs-ewe-2011Mastitis in ewes is a cause of significant financial loss to the industry and severely jeopodizes the welfare of affected sheep and their lambs
  • Most cases are caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Mannheimia (formerly known as Pasteuerella) haemolytica.
  • Infection of the udder is through the teat canal.
  • Teat injuries predispose the udder to infection, especially by Staphylococcus aureus
  • Most cases of mastitis occur in the first week and in the third and fourth week of lactation.
  • Mastitis occuring in the first week of lactation is often the result of faecal contamination of teats in the lambing pen.
  • In severe mastitis, treatment with antibiotics is usually successful in saving the life of the ewe but the affected half of the udder is often lost.
  • Prevention of mastitis is dependent on our knowledge of predisposing causes, which is currently inadequate. Greater effort is required by shepherds and veterinarians to detect predisopsing causes so that they can be avoided or minimised.
  • Currently, vaccines to protect against mastitis are not available.



The full news sheet for any of the disease summaries can be ordered from the Moredun Foundation by using the following request form. The first news sheet title requested is free*, further news sheet titles are charged at £5.00 per copy (including postage).

*offer limited to one news sheet title per postal address in any one year. After that each news sheet will be charged at the standard price of £5.00 (including postage).


Click here for more information about Moredun Foundation News Sheets


  Moredun Membership Scheme

Moredun runs a membership scheme which aims to keep farmers and their vets up to date with the latest developments in animal health research. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Moredun Foundation, please click here.