Shortly after calving is a high risk period for Eacherichia coli (E. coli) mastitis, which is commonly associated with severe toxic cases.

There are two bacteria which are most commonly associated with causing mastitis – they are E. coli, staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus uberis.

Strep uberis is the one that spreads more easily during milking, while E. coli is generally picked up from the environment.

In some strains, this form of mastitis can also be spread easily during milking, with the majority of mastitis cases being mild in nature.

Freshly-calved cows and heifers are the most susceptible to mastitis, due to increased stress levels and weakened immune systems after calving.

E. coli mastitis

The cause of this form of mastitis is primarily old bedding, faeces and mud. Risk of infection is increased when the environment is wet or dirty.

There are several indicators that you are dealing with E. coli mastitis; clinical symptoms include severe depression and high temperature.

The success of the treatment ultimately depends on the number of endotoxins that are present.

Mastitis tubes are generally ineffective in treating severe toxic cases, and generally a more aggressive treatment plan will be required from your vet.


Mastitis prevention is all about limiting the amount of bacteria present in the environment.

Areas where cows congregate, such as water troughs, gateways, collecting yards and housing must be kept clean to minimise infection.

During the housing period, hygiene is of the utmost importance; cubicles should be limed twice daily and scrapers running at regular intervals.

E. coli mastitis, like most other environmental mastitis, can be picked up or passed on during the milking process.

Having hygienic milking practice in place is important to aid prevention of all environmental mastitis.

Teats should be clean and dry when cupped. Cows should stand for at least 30 minutes after milking to ensure the teat sphincter is closed.