Mastitis in dairy cows

Mastitis causes a cow’s udder tissue to become inflamed and painful. Reducing its occurrence helps produce more high-quality milk and increases your herd’s saleable milk yield.

Mastitis treatment and control is one of the largest costs to the GB dairy industry and is a significant factor in dairy cow welfare

The best way to control mastitis is to protect cows from getting new infections, which can come from the environment or from other infected cows

Working out when cows get infected and the source of infections is the first step. You can then focus on preventing new cases of mastitis in your herd

Identifying and treating the source of mastitis


Our entry level programme to help you identify patterns of mastitis and provides resources with appropriate options to control mastitis on your farm.

Get started with QuarterPro

Mastitis Control Plan

A next level, proven, structured, evidence-based approach to prevent and control mastitis in dairy cattle.

Learn more about the Mastitis Control Plan

Environmental mastitis

By far the most common type of mastitis in the UK herd with most new infections coming from the environment, and the majority of new cases originating during lactation, rather than the dry period.

Explore more about environmental mastitis

Heifer mastitis 

Heifer mastitis before or after calving, or during the first lactation, significantly affects udder health and lifetime milk yield.

Find out more about controlling heifer mastitis

Causes of mastitis in dairy cows

Disease-causing bacteria (pathogens) can infect cows both during the dry period and in lactation so it's important to have an understanding to aid prevention and treatment.

Learn more about mastitis pathogens

Mastitis symptoms

Clinical mastitis presents a range of symptoms, which can range from mild to moderate to severe and depends on a variety of factors.

Find out about the symptoms of mastitis

Mastitis bacteriology

Collecting samples of the milk produced by cows suffering from the symptoms of mastitis enables you to identify which pathogen(s) are responsible to target effective treatment and any control measures that can be implemented.

Read about bacteriology and sampling

Managing dry cows in the dairy herd

Drying off cows is vital because it allows time for the udder to recover before the next lactation period.

Learn about managing your cows around the dry period.

Do high somatic cell counts indicate mastitis?

Somatic Cell Count (SCC) is a main indicator of milk quality and an increase in somatic cells can be an immune response to a mastitis-causing pathogen.

More about somatic cell counts

Mastitis guides and factsheets