Mastitis is the most widespread and costly disease of dairy cows in New Zealand. In its most severe form it appears as an inflammation of one or two quarters of the udder, as shown here. This is a reaction to bacterial, physical or other injury to the milk-producing tissue, and results in a loss of milk production. However, many more cases are at the sub-clinical level where no inflammation is obvious, and the disease can be detected only by testing the milk for somatic cell numbers, which are high when infection is present. Milk with high somatic cell counts, or from cows being treated with antibiotics, should not be consumed by humans.
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Craig Potton Publishing
Reference: Paul Martin, Lifestyle farming in New Zealand. Nelson: Craig Potton Publishing, 2006, p. 26
Photograph by Paul Martin
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