Mastitis, from the words "mast" which means breast and "itis" which means inflammation, is defined as an inflammatory reaction of udder tissue to bacterial, chemical, thermal or mechanical injury.
Mastitis may be infectious and is caused by microbial organisms or it may be non-infectious resulting from physical injury to the gland. The inflammatory response consists of an increase in blood proteins and white blood cells in the mammary tissue and the milk. The purpose of the response is to destroy the irritant, repair the damaged-tissue and return the udder to normal function.
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