For herds frustrated by clinical and subclinical mastitis in their heifers at calving time, Teatsealing them 4–6 weeks before calving start date can reduce clinical and subclinical mastitis in the weeks after calving by 65–80% (or more).
Why does it work?
The normal keratin plug that blocks the end of the teat will often not last until calving, and so teats can be open just prior to calving (see photo below). This allows bacteria, such as Strep uberis, to enter the udder. When hygienically and carefully infused into the teat, Teatseal imitates the keratin plug and helps prevent bacteria from entering the teat and causing mastitis.
When should we use Teatseal in our heifers?
The decision to use Teatseal depends on:
- A farm’s historical clinical and subclinical mastitis rate in the two weeks after calving
- The likely bacterial challenge (considering the weather and calving area)
- An evaluation of the cost of clinical mastitis vs the cost of the Teatsealing process
How is it done?
- If calm and accustomed to the dairy, heifers can be treated in the dairy. However, using a hydraulic tipping crush makes this job a breeze: it is both easier and safer for everyone
- Heifers enter the crush and are tipped over onto their side and their legs restrained. This allows safe and easy access to the udder and optimum cleanliness during infusion by one of our experienced veterinarians or technicians
- Tipping the heifer over also gives the opportunity to trim feet at the same time if needed
Teatsealing heifers in the tipper crush can be done at your out paddock or dairy yards. At an out paddock, having the right set up makes a Teatsealing job quicker and easier. This includes:
- A race that is easy to load so that the next heifer is always ready to go
- A well-maintained crush that is easy to use
- Flat space in front of or next to the crush for the tipper crush to go, and enough room to be able to reverse it into place easily.
We more than happy to come and have a look at your out paddock or dairy yards to assess their suitability and suggest any changes that can make the process easier.
- Teatsealing can be combined with other husbandry procedures you may need to undertake, such as ear tagging, vaccination or hoof trimming
- If possible, get the heifers used to the yards so that they flow better
- Don’t freeze brand heifers in the few weeks prior to Teatsealing as they will be crankier when they run through
- When doing large numbers of heifers on a hot day, bring them in as groups if possible so that those waiting have access to water
If you would like help working out the clinical and subclinical mastitis rates in your heifers or have any questions about Teatsealing heifers, please contact one our Milk Quality team to discuss its use in your heifers.