Study links cloth udder towels to mastitis and other infections

New research indicates cloth towels used on dairy cows can contribute to udder infections.

Sandra Godden, a professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, says they found two categories of mastitis-causing pathogens on cloths used to prepare udders for milking.

“So if we had increased levels of either staph or strep species on the cloth udder towels, there was an increased risk for infection in quarters in commercial dairy herds with those specific bacteria.”

She tells Brownfield they concluded hot air drying and off-site laundering can help reduce bacteria counts.

Godden says a separate study identified hot water washing and detergent use as protective.

“The cloth udder towel is just one tiny little piece of the udder prep routine, but it turns out it may have an important role so we need to pay attention to that as well.”

Researchers also established evidence-based goals for monitoring cloth udder towel hygiene.

The study involved 80 dairy herds from 10 different states.

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