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Controlling Coliform Mastitis

Clell V. Bagley DVM, Utah State University


Coliform mastitis is usually considered as an acute disease although some milder forms and even chronic cases do occur. It is caused by the bacterial organism Escherichia coli , hence the name, coliform. Other, related organisms, Enterobacter aerogenes and Klebsiella pneumoniae , are also often called “coliforms.” All of these are classed as “environmental” agents because they grow freely and commonly in the cows habitat and infect the udder as opportunists. Multiple factors are involved in allowing development of this disease; it is not simply a matter of “bacteria present equals disease.” The coliform organisms cannot be eradicated from the cow’s environment nor can all cases of coliform mastitis be prevented. But it can be controlled and the incidence reduced.