Mastitis or Udder Edema? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Our Bessie had her first calf eight days ago. Since she's a Holstein we had been warned she might give more milk than we could use and might consider getting an extra drop calf from a dairy. We did that about a week and a half before her own calf was born.

We've been milking her (milking her out, we think) by hand twice a day, while letting her own calf nurse from her. We started trying to bring the drop calf to her and while she didn't like it, he seemed to get adequate milk (but it's hard to measure that). We were doing this at milking time, immediately before milking her out by hand. A couple of times there seemed to be nothing left. It's hard to imagine that the calf actually drank the 1= or more gallons we anticipated getting.

Our problem is that on a couple of occasions we have tried to milk and it appears she is beginning to withhold her let-down. Beginning yesterday, we began noticing that one side of her bag is much harder than the other. It is not hot and the milk doesn't look any different (color or consistency). I just talked to a guy at the feed store who has seemed pretty knowledgeable about cows, and after reviewing the signs, he suspects it isn't mastitis but rather something he calls Udder Edema. He recommends using a product called Corona--apparently a topical cream.

Does anyone have any other (or contradictory) thoughts or suggestions?

-- Jonathan Lindvall (, June 10, 2000


Sure hope the calf you bought left colostrum for the calf that was born! If the milk is normal and the udder isn't hot, then yes it is udder edema (which you can usually feel, the udder will leave finger prints in it if you poke it. It really is nothing more than swelling of the tissue in the udder wall, though I have never seen this in only part of an udder, either the animal has edema or doesn't) I would suspect that the cow is keeping milk for her calf in this harder side, not letting down for you or the older calf. The corona will not hurt anything, though you could use metholatum or vics vapor rub for the same purpose, massage and methol, I know folks who use peppermint oils. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, June 10, 2000.

there is a shot you can give the cow to make her let down her milk. It's called oxytocin and it's a hormone that you can inject in the bloodstream. It works in 2 minutes and is the same hormone that the cow produces herself. We use it when the cows hold their milk for various reasons, like sore udders, nervous temprement, or saving it for their calf (yes they do that sometimes) It is very important that the cow is milked out completely twice a day or she may well get mastitis. the shots may help her get used to your routine

-- Jeanette Springer (, June 13, 2000.

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