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Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland (udder), usually caused by a bacterial infection. Over 130 bacterial species of bacteria have been associated with intramammary infections in dairy cows and it is probable that a similar number of species could infect the mammary gland of suckler sheep.

Mastitis in Sheep

In suckler sheep, mastitis can result in loss of function of a gland, culling of affected ewes or death of a ewe. In addition, many ewes are culled at weaning because of chronic infection detected in the udder as hard swellings. Reduction in the occurrence of mastitis and intramammary infections would benefit the health and welfare of suckler ewes and their lambs. It would increase sustainable production through an increased productive life of ewes and faster growing lambs.

Further information on the range of work conducted on Mastitis in Sheep can be found here

Mastitis in Cattle

Research and management is currently focused on individual strains with the idea that understanding and developing vaccines and treatments for each strain will lead to better control of mastitis. To date such an approach has not led to a reduction in the occurrence of mastitis and mastitis remains a very common disease in dairy cows and other lactating farm animals.

Further information on the range of work conducted on Mastitis in Cattle can be found here



Smith, E.M., Willis, Z.N., Blakeley, M., Lovatt, F., Purdy, K.J. and Green, L.E. (2015). Bacterial species and their associations with acute and chronic mastitis in suckler ewes. Journal of Dairy Science, Accepted


Smith, E.M., Needs, P.F., Manley, G. and Green, L.E. (2014). Global distribution and diversity of ovine-associated Staphylococcus aureus. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 22: 208–215. [Article]

Cooper, S. , S.J. Huntley, L.E. Green (2013) 'A longitudinal study of risk factors for teat lesions in 67 suckler ewes in a single flock in England', Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 110 232 - 241. [Article]

Huntley, S.J., Cooper, S., Bradley, A.J. and Green, L.E. (2012) A cohort study of the associations between udder conformation, milk somatic cell count, and lamb weight in suckler ewes. Journal of Dairy Science, 95: 5001-5010. [Article]


Funded by: BBSRC, AHDB Beef and Lamb, QMMS

WIDER people involved:

Laura Green

Kevin Purdy

Ed Smith

Emma Monaghan

Claire Grant

External collaborators

Andrew Bradley (QMMS)

Martin Green (Nottingham)