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Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network

All about Mastitis I Treatment and Antimicrobial resistance

Use These Treatment Procedures
Intramammary Infusion

Manipulation of teat tissues, such as cannula injection, may jeopardize the antibacterial properties of the teat canal. When administrating intramammary infusion, better use these treatment procedures.

Teat canal keratin acts as a primary defence against mastitis by forming a physical barrier against bacteria. The teat sphincter muscle functions by maintaining tight closure of the canal and limiting bacteria to the teat orifice. Manipulation of these tissues, such as cannula insertion, may jeopardize the antibacterial properties of the teat canal.
When teat ends are disinfected prior to intramammary infusion many bacteria are killed, but some lodge in the microscopic crevices around the orifice survive. When a treatment syringe cannula is fully inserted through the orifice, surviving bacteria may be carried into the teat cistern where a few resistant ones can multiply.

Teat end disinfection has no effect on bacteria that colonize teat canal keratin. Full insertion of the treatment syringe cannula may push bits of keratin with colonized bacteria into the teat cistern, where again, a few resistant ones could multiply and infect milk-producing tissues. In addition, the syringe cannula may be up to eight times the diameter of the teat canal, causing temporary dilation of the sphincter muscle and providing an open passageway for bacteria. Studies have shown that partial insertion of the treatment syringe cannula only 3 mm (1/8 inch) into the teat canal avoids damage to teat end tissue and reduces new infections by 50 percent.

It is recommended that the following procedure be used when administering intramammary infusion products:

  1. Completely milk out the udder;
  2. Vigorously scrub teat orifices with pledge of cotton or gauze sponge moistened with alcohol, starting with teat furthest from the milker;
  3. Insert the syringe cannula no more that 3 mm (1/8 inch) into the teat canal, starting with the teats closest to you;
  4. Slowly infuse antibiotic preparation into the quarter;
  5. Dip teats in an approved postmilking teat antiseptic.


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