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Mastitis may be clinical or sub-clinical.
Mild infections cause sub-clinical mastitis. Sub-clinical means
that no outward signs of mastitis such as clots, swelling, elevated
temperature, or unusual appearance of milk are visible. If sub-clinical
mastitis persists, it causes fibrosis (scarring) of the tissues
of the udder, which can be felt as hardening and knots in the tissue.
The scar tissue replaces the milk secreting tissue and leads to
lost milk production. Some bacteria especially Staph aureus
can cause small abscesses in the tissue.