Anyone use Tide to cure mastitis? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

A few years ago I saw an article in Countryside Magazine that mentioned curing mastitis with Tide detergent. The author of the article said he bought cows with mastitis in one or two quarters, and treated them with Tide, and when they freshened the next time there was no mastitis.

I've seen this mentioned somewhere else, too, but I cannot find any specifics about the procedure. Do they use liquid Tide, do they dilute it, if so, how strong should it be, and how many cc's per teat? I do remember that they said it is squirted up into the teat as with the antibiotic treatments, and that they used a teat dilator, and capped it so the solution stayed up in the teat for a certain length of time.

Does anyone else remember this article? I read it over and over, but there just wasn't enough information presented to make me feel free to just "try" it.

Here in Florida, and I don't know if we are the exception or not, mastitis is a scurge. Almost any dairy cow is sure to get it sooner or later, and the weekly dairy auction is full of poor cows whose udders are huge and hard, or one or two quarters, even three, are dead.

My Jersey cow tended to have what I call glumpy milk in one quarter when she freshened, but I just milked that teat specially, and worked it real good, and massaged the udder as high as I could reach, and rubbed it down toward the teat every time, and pulled the stuff out, and it cleared up in about two weeks, and she gave milk for 18 months without any more trouble. I didn't use any antibiotic. The milk never had a bad odor, and her udder wasn't hot or red. My Jersey gives four gallons a day when she freshens, even with one "thick" quarter, so I don't mind, as long as she's healthy. I'm not trying to breed perfect cows, I'm just providing milk for my household.

Now I have a former dairyman friend, who felt her udder recently, (she is "dry" right now, but still has a little that will squirt out), and he said there is thickness in one quarter, and she should be treated with "dry cow" (antibiotic) to prevent mastitis in the future. Maybe ignorance is bliss, and my method was successful before just because I didn't know any better, but I cringe to give my cows antibiotics. I don't use them on myself or my children, and I don't see why a cow can't just dry up naturally like a human mother. Our midwife said if we felt like we were getting mastitis, nurse the baby more often and longer on that side. I have six children, and it always worked for me. (I know there are instances when antibiotics are the only answer; we just have been blessed so far not to need them.)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a dairy makes money from the milk it produces, and by the time one of those big Holsteins is freshening age they have a LOT of money tied up in it, and if there was ANYTHING vet approved in the world that cured mastitis, wouldn't it be available to a dairy, and wouldn't they use it? Why then are there so many Holsteins being sent to slaughter at only a couple or three years old with ruined udders? The antibiotics obviously aren't working.

Please help with any information. If Tide is successful, I'd rather use it as a precaution than antibiotics. A little thickness in one quarter isn't a big deal to me, and maybe she just came that way, a little imperfect like most of us creatures are in some way. I don't know. I need more feedback from people with experience. :)

-- Lela R. Picking (, December 10, 2000


I also read in Countryside I think that shooting "egg whites" into the udder will work too. I haven't tried it, but agree it would be better than meds if it worked. I don't remember the tide one. Do you still have the issue?

-- Cindy in Ky (, December 10, 2000.

Lela I have worked on commercial dairies and had several family cows of my own. There are several reasons mastitis seems to be so common in dairy cows. It is everywhere not just florida. Mastitis can be caused by the cow having her udder injured and that can let in harmful bacteria. On a dairy this is pretty hard to prevent. One cow standing up while another is laying down a lot of times will step on some part of the udder. Some cows have extra orifices. I had a cow that you had to milk with special pressure on one area of her teat or you would get a stream of milk out the side as well as the bottom. I had to be very careful with sanitation on her. In my opinion (and I am probably right) the main reason cows get mastitis on dairies is the high turn over on help. A lot of them use migrant workers. Most folks don't want to work on a dairy because the pay isn't very good and it is definately Work. Because of a high turn over, general low quality of workers....sanitation isn't very good. The milking apparatus needs to be sanitized after each cow. This is rarely done and almost never done according to the manufacturers directions for the chemical. So if you get one cow with mastitis the others have a much greater chance of getting it. As far as treatment goes....thoroughly milking out the quarter that has the infection is very important. From what you describe you are doing that part correctly. I can understand not wanting to use anit- biotics but they really are the best choice. I also read the article on using Tide....I wouldn't try it. The mammary glands are delicate and I sure would hate for someone to use that stuff on me! Tide just doesn't have anything in it to kill bacteria. Treating her while she is dry would be the best thing. As far as your question about why so many dairies sell cows with mastitis if the anit-biotics work.....easy the dairies don't have time to mess with massaging and hand milking the last few drops out of the affected quarters 2-3 times a day. It holds up the line. Dairies will sell cows that are slow eaters or slow milkers because they hold up the line. If the dairy can treat her with the anti-biotic and she cures up pretty quick they will keep her but if she needs special attention it is easier to sell her. Dairies are like a lot of other businesses ...they are concerned with efficiency.

-- Amanda in Mo (, December 10, 2000.

I remember the Tide cure from a few years back, and I hope no one really tried it on their poor animals. Laundry detergent is very caustic and I can't imagine the burning pain that it would cause. Whether there is a clinical advantage to using Tide, or egg whites for that matter, think of the comfort of the animal. If the mastitis is caused by a bacteria, either an antibiotic or time and the animal's own immune system is what's going to work. Granted, antibiotics are overused in our agri-business society, but they do have their place. And a case of mastitis seems to be one of those places. Please don't inflict unnecessary pain on your goat or cow, when a couple of doses of antibiotic and time will do the job.

-- melina b. (, December 10, 2000.

Obviously if you have read my posts on goats, I would use the dry cow after sending in a sample of the milk.

But lets just add here that you could never have had mastitis when you nursed your baby, and just cured it by more frequent nursings. Babies who nurse mastitic milk, be them human, goat or cow, are very sick little mammals. A clogged milk duct or some congestion could eaisly be cured by more frequent milkings.

Tide, massaging the outside of the udder with peppermint etc., vinegar in the water, all may sound plausable, but put any research into this matter and you will soon see that none of this including alot of the antibiotics some folks use is going to penetrate into the mammary tissue and cure true mastitis. If you cultured the problem first instead of guessing than you would know what you are dealing with, could use the correct antibiotic, at the correct dose, know the correct withdrawal, not build resistance in your cow, and not have to worry about residue for your family. Just infusing with any dry cow infusion is simply guessing which of the many "forms" of mastitis this cow has, if she even does have it! This use of antibiotic, guessing, is the over use of antibiotic that you should be all screaming about, not the correct use of it!

I actually feel very sorry for stock that has owners with the mentality of never using preventative measures including dry cow infusions to fight staph in the hot humid south. (Staph mastitis in fact that doesn't show up in any kind of abnormal milk, just a thickening of the walls of the udder and less milk production.) (So if you are going to just give this a big old guess, choose Pirsue dry cow mastitis infusions and chuck the tide) Who don't adequatly vaccinate, because what usually goes along with this, is then when the animal comes down with a disease that could have been handled eaisly by immunity, if they had been vaccinated, and in most cases in cattle even most mastitis in the form of vaccine, but then the animal is destroyed or sent to auction again because they are sick. When you choose this type of management (no vaccination, no antibiotic) you simply have to know what you are doing, even more so than the type of prevention management I do. You also must have your animals immune systems at peak performance with excellent nutrition, and ulta clean milking routines.

Many virulant forms of mastitis can only be cleared with drying the cow, so it is more economical to sell the cow in a large operation than going through the milk withdrawal it takes to clear her while still milking, or the drying procedure, treating the animal, and refreshening. Take the antibiotic Getomyacin, a common antibiotic therapy used in e-coli mastitis, both in an infusion and systemic, it can have milk and meat residues up to 6 months, and isn't even supposed to be used in animals intended for meat or milk.

Trying to compare commerical dairying management and mentality, to the backyard producer is the ultimate in comparing apples and oranges. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, December 10, 2000.

Vicky, I agree, and shame on me for not mentioning culturing to figure out which organism you're dealing with. Just a note here, I'm all for home-medicating and wholistic methods, but when in doubt, go to the vet. He or she has been trained to understand the microbiology of animals and what will and won't work. Some of them can be difficult to deal with, or too expensive, that's true. But anyone who has livestock at their mercy should cultivate a good working relationship with a vet. Too often on this forum and others, I see requests from people who should be running, not walking to an expert, instead of asking homespun advise from strangers. I value the expertise of forum members like you. I've read enough of your posts to know you are savvy and have 'way more experience than me. I also know that some things require an expert with the ability to draw and send in lab work, write prescriptions, or do emergency surgery. Oh, and the old Tide advise wasn't to rub it on the outside, it was to infuse it into the udder!

-- melina b. (, December 10, 2000.

Hmmmm.Vicki's answer made me think.I vaccinate,worm and use antibiotics on my goats on a regular basis.Antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. Funny thing is,Ann and I use only herbal remedies and supplements.Wouldn't think of using that stuff on ourselves.Go figure!

-- JT Sessions (, December 10, 2000.

Melinda, you had great advice, I always try to answer the poster, letting them decide who to listen to, though have to admit have gotten into some bickering with answerers on a few threads recently! Are you Melinda of (Shuttle) if you aren't hi! if you are HI!!

Tide infused in the udder? You have got to be kidding, and what for? Lets pull some mastitic milk and put it under the microscope and see if the tide will kill it, along with udder tissue I would guess also!!

And yes I think the holistic approach is great and I do use lots of herbs, (without my MSM and Glucosomine and Condroiton I couldn't possibly hand milk) vitamins and minerals are really so much more important in our livestock than we think, you can cure lots of ills in your stock with a good loose mineral mix free choice. But at some point and hopefully not at deaths door, you just have to choose scientific known meds that have worked time and time again, and of course the advice of a great vet, who you know before your first emergency! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, December 10, 2000.

I am no expert on this. I don't have cows, or goats, and none of our mares ever developed mastitis, thankfully. However, I recall a story that James Herriott told in one of his books (I don't remember which one, I think it was repeated in a couple of them) about the cow with mastitis that was cured with -- *I Believe* -- goose grease??!? Does anyone else remember that story? Antibiotics were not in widespread use at that time, and the farmer was a crofter (i.e. homesteader) and had sat up all night massaging the cow's quarter with goose grease until all the thickened tissue had broken up and it was quite normal. He said that the cow never had a recurrance. I only repeat this for what it is worth, but I cannot see that you could do any damage by treating a cow in this manner first.

-- Julie Froelich (, December 16, 2000.

I vaguely remember that one, Julie. I am guessing it was the massaging that "did the trick", with the goose grease either to make the massaging easier on massager and massagee, OR, it could have been one of those famous Herriott magic tricks -- get the owner concentrating on the goose grease when the massage was really what was important.

-- Joy Froelich (, December 16, 2000.

I am by no means an expert, but I have always massaged homemade peppermint lotion on my goats teats after each milking. I've never had a case of mastitis in my herd. As for the Tide remedy; if you don't use antibiotics why use a poison. just my oppinion.

-- lisa liddle (, December 16, 2000.

As far as Tide, NO WAY! My primary vet told me that if I'm going to use anything on a cow, I better have tried it out first and I don't think you want to wash your chest in a laundry detergent. I may be partial but none of those herbal rubs do anything for mastitis. There are no antibiotics in them which is the only thing that can truly cure mastitis, time will heal it but it's more likely to come back unless ou use antibiotics to kill the bacteria. All that pepermint rubs do for the udder is losen up and relax the tissues which result in decreased pain and chapping. Udder balms are extremely important where I live in West Central Wisconsin, I also use it on my horses teats for pre foaling stress relief, which is right now because in the next 3 months, we are expecting 29 horses to foal, 2 are expected to have twins, so you can probably only imagine the amounts we go through.

-- Suzanne (, January 01, 2001.

"T-Hexx" -barrier dip may be your answer for mastitis control

-- S.C. (, March 19, 2002.

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