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