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1.  The indirect hemagglutination test for the detection of antibodies in cattle naturally infected mycoplasmas. 
Stable mycoplasma antigens for the indirect hemagglutination test (IHA) were prepared employing glutaraldehyde treated sheep erythrocytes sensitized with Mycoplasma agalactiae subsp. bovis and Mycoplasma bovigenitalium antigens. Employing these antigens mycoplasma antibodies were detected in sera from cattle which had mastitic symptoms due to natural infection with either M. agalactiae subsp. bovis or M. bovigenitalium. A total of 200 cows from four herds were examined at varying intervals for the presence of M. agalactiae subsp. bovis and for the detection of antibody using growth inhibition and IHA tests. Mycoplasmas were isolated from 37 animals. Growth inhibiting antibody was detected from 56 of the 200 animals. In the IHA tests, antibody titer greater than or equal to 1:80 were detected in 148 animals, 76 of these having antibody titers greater than or equal to 1:160, while sera of 116 normal control animals had no growth inhibiting antibody and none had IHA antibody titers greater than 1:40. M. bovigenitalium was isolated from the milk of three of 26 animals in a fifth herd during an outbreak of mastitis. Growth inhibiting antibodies were demonstrated in the sera of ten of the 26 animals. However, the IHA test detected antibody titers of greater than or equal to 1:160 in 13 animals and of 1:80 in one of the 26 animals. To determine the specificity of the IHA tests, M. agalactiae subsp. bovis and M. bovigenitalium antigens were reacted with rabbit hyperimmune typing sera produced against 12 species of bovine mycoplasmatales. Homologous antisera showed IHA antibody titers of 1:1280 and 1:2560 against M. agalactiae subsp. bovis and M. bovigenitalium respectively, whereas heterologous antisera showed IHA antibody titers of less than or equal to 1:20. Also eight type-specific bovine antisera were reacted with M agalactiae subsp. bovis and M. bovigenitalium antigens in homologous and heterologous tests. Homoogous reactions showed IHA antibody titers greater than or equal to 1:320, whereas heterologous reactions showed IHA titers of less than or equal to 1:20. This IHA test promises to be useful for the detection of bovine mycoplasma antibodies in sera from cattle infected with M. agalactiae subsp. bovis or M. bovigenitalium. Thes test is sensitive, reproducible and specific and the technique is relatively simple and rapid. The antigens were stable for at least seven months.
PMCID: PMC1277514  PMID: 1000374
2.  Mycoplasma bovis infections in Swiss dairy cattle: a clinical investigation 
Mycoplasma bovis causes mastitis in dairy cows and is associated with pneumonia and polyarthritis in cattle. The present investigation included a retrospective case–control study to identify potential herd-level risk factors for M. bovis associated disease, and a prospective cohort study to evaluate the course of clinical disease in M. bovis infected dairy cattle herds in Switzerland. Eighteen herds with confirmed M. bovis cases were visited twice within an average interval of 75 d. One control herd with no history of clinical mycoplasmosis, matched for herd size, was randomly selected within a 10 km range for each case herd. Animal health data, production data, information on milking and feeding-management, housing and presence of potential stress- factors were collected. Composite quarter milk samples were aseptically collected from all lactating cows and 5% of all animals within each herd were sampled by nasal swabs. Organ samples of culled diseased cows were collected when logistically possible. All samples were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In case herds, incidence risk of pneumonia, arthritis and clinical mastitis prior to the first visit and incidence rates of clinical mastitis and clinical pneumonia between the two visits was estimated. Logistic regression was used to identify potential herd-level risk factors for M. bovis infection. In case herds, incidence risk of M. bovis mastitis prior to the first visit ranged from 2 to 15%, whereas 2 to 35% of the cows suffered from clinical pneumonia within the 12 months prior to the first herd visit. The incidence rates of mycoplasmal mastitis and clinical pneumonia between the two herd visits were low in case herds (0–0.1 per animal year at risk and 0.1-0.6 per animal year at risk, respectively). In the retrospective-case-control study high mean milk production, appropriate stimulation until milk-let-down, fore-stripping, animal movements (cattle shows and trade), presence of stress-factors, and use of a specific brand of milking equipment, were identified as potential herd-level risk factors. The prospective cohort study revealed a decreased incidence of clinical disease within three months and prolonged colonization of the nasal cavity by M. bovis in young stock.
doi:10.1186/s13028-015-0099-x
PMCID: PMC4347908  PMID: 25884203
Mycoplasma bovis; Mastitis; Pneumonia; Herd-level risk factors; Dairy herd
3.  Clinical mastitis in dairy cattle in Ontario: frequency of occurrence and bacteriological isolates. 
The objective of this study was to describe the frequency of occurrence of clinical mastitis in dairy herds in Ontario. The study group consisted of 65 dairy farms involved in a 2-year observational study, which included recording all clinical mastitis cases and milk sampling of quarters with clinical mastitis. Lactational incidence risks of 9.8% for abnormal milk only, 8.2% for abnormal milk with a hard or swollen udder, and 4.4% for abnormal milk plus systemic signs of illness related to mastitis were calculated for 2840 cows and heifers. Overall, 19.8% of cows experienced one or more cases of clinical mastitis during location. Teat injuries occurred in 2.1% of lactations. Standard bacteriology was performed on pretreatment milk samples from 834 cows with clinical mastitis. The bacteria isolated were Staphylococcus aureus (6.7%), Streptococcus agalactiae (0.7%), other Streptococcus spp. (14.1%), coliforms (17.2%), gram-positive bacilli (5.5%), Corynebacterium bovis (1.7%), and other Staphylococcus spp. (28.7%). There was no growth in 17.7% of samples, and 8.3% of samples were contaminated. Clinical mastitis is a common disease in dairy cows in Ontario; approximately 1 in 5 cow lactations have at lease one episode of clinical mastitis. There is, however, considerable variation in the incidence of clinical mastitis among farms. The majority of 1st cases of clinical mastitis occur early in lactation, and the risk of clinical mastitis increases with increasing parity. Environmental, contagious, and minor pathogens were all associated with cases of clinical mastitis.
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PMCID: PMC1539829  PMID: 9442950
4.  Mastitis and related management factors in certified organic dairy herds in Sweden 
Background
Mastitis is one of the major threats to animal health, in organic farming as well as conventional. Preliminary studies of organic dairy herds have indicated better udder health in such herds, as compared to conventional herds. The aim of this paper was to further study mastitis and management related factors in certified organic dairy herds.
Methods
An observational study of 26 certified organic dairy herds in mid-eastern Sweden was conducted during one year. A large-animal practitioner visited the herds three times and clinically examined and sampled cows, and collected information about general health and management routines. Data on milk production and disorders treated by a veterinarian in the 26 herds, as well as in 1102 conventional herds, were retrieved from official records. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess associations between herd type (organic vs. conventional) and incidence of disorders.
Results
The organic herds that took part in the study ranged in size from 12 to 64 cows, in milk production from 3772 to 10334 kg per cow and year, and in bulk milk somatic cell counts from 83000 to 280000 cells/ml. The organic herds were found to have a lower incidence of clinical mastitis, teat injuries, and a lower proportion of cows with a high somatic cell count (as indicated by the UDS, Udder Disease Score) compared to conventional herds. The spectrum of udder pathogenic bacteria was similar to that found in other Swedish studies. Treatment of mastitis was found to be similar to what is practised in conventional herds. Homeopathic remedies were not widely used in the treatment of clinical mastitis.
The calves in most of these organic herds suckled their dams for only a few days, which were not considered to substantially affect the udder health. The main management factor that was different from conventional herds was the feeding strategy, where organic herds used a larger share of forage.
Conclusion
Udder health in Swedish organic herds appears to be better than in conventional herds of comparable size and production. The major difference in management between the two types of farms is the proportion of concentrates fed. The mechanisms explaining the association between intensity of feeding and udder health in dairy cows require further research.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-48-11
PMCID: PMC1553465  PMID: 16987390
5.  A study of bovine mastitis, milking procedures and management practices on 25 Estonian dairy herds 
Background
Mastitis prevalence, milking procedures and management practices were investigated in 25 big dairy herds supplying milk to an Estonian dairy company. The aim of the study was to provide information for the company to be used in their new udder health improvement program to be set up after the completion of this study.
Methods
Quarter milk samples were collected from 3,166 cows for bacterial analysis and SCC (somatic cell counting). During the farm visit the veterinarian filled in a questionnaire about milking procedures and management practices with the help of farm managers. If the milk SCC of a cow or of a quarter exceeded 200,000/ml, the cow was defined as having mastitis.
Results
The percentage of cows having inflammation in one or more quarters measured by SCC (200,000/ml) was 52.7%. Corynebacterium bovis, Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase negative staphylococci were the most common bacterial isolates. Women as farm owners, and participating in the milking, were associated with lower mastitis prevalence on the farm. Peat bedding was associated with higher mastitis prevalence.
Conclusion
We demonstrated relatively high mastitis prevalence in this study. Contagious bacteria (eg. S. aureus, C. bovis, S. agalactiae and coagulase negative staphylococci) caused most of the infections. These infections are usually spread from cow to cow at milking if the milking hygiene is not good enough. The mastitis situation could be improved by improving milking procedures and hygiene.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-48-22
PMCID: PMC1664578  PMID: 17118211
6.  The effect of pre-enrichment on recovery of Streptococcus agalactiae, Staphylococcus aureus and mycoplasma from bovine milk. 
Epidemiology and Infection  1989;103(3):465-474.
The study was conducted to determine whether pre-enrichment would increase sensitivity of detecting Streptococcus (Str.) agalactiae, Staphylococcus (S.) aureus, and mycoplasma in bovine milk. Two procedures were followed, one involving direct inoculation of milk on bovine blood agar, and the other involving preenrichment in broth followed by inoculation on agar. Logistic regression was used to predict the probability of isolation as a function of culture procedure and two additional covariates, the California Mastitis Test (CMT) score of the milk and the type of sample (indicating sample storage temperature and herd mastitis status). A total of 13778 milk samples was cultured for each of the three bacteria. By using results of both direct inoculation and pre-enrichment, the probability of isolation compared to use of direct inoculation only and adjusted for effects of other variables was increased 3.6-fold for Str. agalactiae, 1.6-fold for S. aureus and 1.7-fold for mycoplasma. The probability of isolation for all three bacteria increased as the CMT score increased. For Str. agalactiae, there was a statistical interaction predicting that enrichment improved the odds of isolation more from milk with high CMT scores than from milk with low scores. Results indicate that pre-enrichment can substantially increase the sensitivity of bacteriological screening of dairy cows for mastitis caused by Str. agalactiae, S. aureus, and mycoplasma.
PMCID: PMC2249543  PMID: 2691266
7.  Prevalence of contagious mastitis pathogens in bulk tank milk in Prince Edward Island 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2006;47(6):567-572.
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to 1) estimate the herd prevalence of contagious mastitis pathogens in bulk milk from Prince Edward Island (PEI) dairy farms, 2) determine the association between bulk milk culture results and mean bulk milk somatic cell count (BMSCC), and 3) investigate the agreement of repeated bulk milk cultures. Three consecutive bulk milk samples were obtained at weekly intervals from all 258 PEI dairy herds and were cultured using routine laboratory methods. Cumulative prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, and Mycoplasma spp. (M. bovis and M. alkalescens) was 74%, 1.6%, and 1.9%, respectively. Bulk milk somatic cell count of Staph. aureus-positive herds was higher than that of negative herds. Agreement for Staph. aureus isolation between 3 consecutive tests was moderate (kappa = 0.46). Mycoplasma bovis and M. alkalescens in bulk milk are being reported for the 1st time in PEI ever and in Canada since 1972.
PMCID: PMC1461414  PMID: 16808229
8.  Reproductive Performance, Udder Health, and Antibiotic Resistance in Mastitis Bacteria isolated from Norwegian Red cows in Conventional and Organic Farming 
Background
The objectives of this study were to investigate whether there were differences between Norwegian Red cows in conventional and organic farming with respect to reproductive performance, udder health, and antibiotic resistance in udder pathogens.
Methods
Twenty-five conventional and 24 organic herds from south-east and middle Norway participated in the study. Herds were matched such that geographical location, herd size, and barn types were similar across the cohorts. All organic herds were certified as organic between 1997 and 2003. All herds were members of the Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System. The herds were visited once during the study. The relationship between the outcomes and explanatory variables were assessed using mixed linear models.
Results
There were less > 2nd parity cows in conventional farming. The conventional cows had higher milk yields and received more concentrates than organic cows. Although after adjustment for milk yield and parity, somatic cell count was lower in organic cows than conventional cows. There was a higher proportion of quarters that were dried off at the herd visit in organic herds. No differences in the interval to first AI, interval to last AI or calving interval was revealed between organic and conventional cows. There was no difference between conventional and organic cows in quarter samples positive for mastitis bacteria from the herd visit. Milk yield and parity were associated with the likelihood of at least one quarter positive for mastitis bacteria. There was few S. aureus isolates resistance to penicillin in both management systems. Penicillin resistance against Coagulase negative staphylococci isolated from subclinically infected quarters was 48.5% in conventional herds and 46.5% in organic herds.
Conclusion
There were no large differences between reproductive performance and udder health between conventional and organic farming for Norwegian Red cows.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-52-11
PMCID: PMC2829576  PMID: 20141638
9.  Udder pathogens and their resistance to antimicrobial agents in dairy cows in Estonia 
Background
The goal of this study was to estimate the distribution of udder pathogens and their antibiotic resistance in Estonia during the years 2007-2009.
Methods
The bacteriological findings reported in this study originate from quarter milk samples collected from cows on Estonian dairy farms that had clinical or subclinical mastitis. The samples were submitted by local veterinarians to the Estonian Veterinary and Food Laboratory during 2007-2009. Milk samples were examined by conventional bacteriology. In vitro antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed with the disc diffusion test. Logistic regression with a random herd effect to control for clustering was used for statistical analysis.
Results
During the study period, 3058 clinical mastitis samples from 190 farms and 5146 subclinical mastitis samples from 274 farms were investigated. Positive results were found in 57% of the samples (4680 out of 8204), and the proportion did not differ according to year (p > 0.05). The proportion of bacteriologically negative samples was 22.3% and that of mixed growth was 20.6%. Streptococcus uberis (Str. uberis) was the bacterium isolated most frequently (18.4%) from cases of clinical mastitis, followed by Escherichia coli (E. coli) (15.9%) and Streptococcus agalactiae (Str. agalactiae) (11.9%). The bacteria that caused subclinical mastitis were mainly Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) (20%) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (15.4%). The probability of isolating S. aureus from milk samples was significantly higher on farms that had fewer than 30 cows, when compared with farms that had more than 100 cows (p < 0.005). A significantly higher risk of Str. agalactiae infection was found on farms with more than 600 cows (p = 0.034) compared with smaller farms. The proportion of S. aureus and CNS isolates that were resistant to penicillin was 61.4% and 38.5%, respectively. Among the E. coli isolates, ampicillin, streptomycin and tetracycline resistance were observed in 24.3%, 15.6% and 13.5%, respectively.
Conclusions
This study showed that the main pathogens associated with clinical mastitis were Str. uberis and E. coli. Subclinical mastitis was caused mainly by S. aureus and CNS. The number of S. aureus and Str. agalactiae isolates depended on herd size. Antimicrobial resistance was highly prevalent, especially penicillin resistance in S. aureus and CNS.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-53-4
PMCID: PMC3041692  PMID: 21299911
10.  Insights into udder health and intramammary antibiotic usage on Irish dairy farms during 2003-2010 
Irish Veterinary Journal  2012;65(1):7.
By international standards, Ireland is a relatively small dairy producer. However, the industry plays a critical role to the national economy, accounting for approximately 3% of national gross domestic product. This paper presents insights into udder health and intramammary antibiotic usage on Irish dairy farms during 2003-2010, based on data from several sources. Three data sources were used, including data on milk recording data, intramammary antibiotic sales and animal health assessment. The milk recording data included a single unadjusted herd-level somatic cell count (SCC) value for each herd at each milk recording, being the arithmetic mean of cow-level SCC of each cow at that recording, weighted by cow-level yield. These data were used to calculate the percentage of herds each month where the unadjusted herd SCC exceeded 200,000 and 400,000 cells/mL. Two logistic generalised estimating-equations (GEE) models were developed, the outcome variable being either the probability that the monthly SCC of a herd was greater than 400,000 cells/mL or less than or equal to 200,000 cells/mL. Spring herds had a lower probability of a high SCC (> 400,000 cells/mL) during February to October compared to non-Spring herds but a higher probability between November to January. The odds of a high SCC were greater in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 but less in 2007 and 2008 compared to 2004. Smaller herds had higher odds of having a high SCC compared to larger herds. We present the number of intramammary tubes and the quantity of active substance (kg) sold annually in Ireland during 2003-2010. We infer an incidence of clinical mastitis of 54.0 cases per 100 cow-years at risk, assuming 4 tubes per treatment regime, one affected quarter per cow, tubes restricted to clinical cases only and 100% of treated cases considered new cases, based on data collected on sales of in-lactation intra-mammary antibiotics. With differing assumptions, this estimate varied between 25.8 and 77.0 cases per 100 cow-years at risk. Using data on sales of dry cow therapy intra-mammary antibiotics, we also infer that most Irish dairy farmers use blanket dry cow therapy. It is important that Ireland has an objective understanding of current levels of udder health, to facilitate benchmarking and improvement into the future. Udder health is a concern on a number of Irish dairy farms. High SCC results were present throughout the year, but more marked towards the start and end of each milking season. Animal Health Ireland recently commenced a major national programme, CellCheck, in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, to support national SCC improvement. In this paper, relevant European and national legislation is also reviewed.
doi:10.1186/2046-0481-65-7
PMCID: PMC3376034  PMID: 22455802
11.  A benefit to cost analysis of the effect of premilking teat hygiene on somatic cell count and intramammary infections in a commercial dairy herd. 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  1997;38(10):632-636.
A field trial was conducted to determine the effect of premilking teat disinfection (predipping) on several measures of mastitis in a commercial dairy farm where the predominant organisms isolated from intramammary infections were coagulase negative Staphylococcus spp. Cows were randomly assigned to a treated (predipped with 0.5% iodine germicide plus "good udder preparation") or a control group ("good udder preparation" alone). Sterile composite milk samples were collected at the initiation of the trial and on an approximately bimonthly basis throughout the duration of the trial. There was no difference in the prevalence of isolation of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp. from composite milk samples obtained during the 6 herd cultures. The incidence rate for clinical mastitis in the control group was 1.38 cases per 1000 cow days. The incidence rate for clinical mastitis in the treatment group was 1.06 cases per 1000 cow days. The ratio of these 2 was 1.3, suggesting a higher rate in the control group, but the ratio was not statistically significant (P = 0.34). Logistic regression analysis indicated that the effect of treatment group was not significant, although the coefficient suggested that predipping reduced the risk of clinical mastitis. The benefit to cost ratio of 0.37 indicated that the benefit of reduced incidence of clinical cases of mastitis would not have justified the added expense required to predip the herd.
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PMCID: PMC1576856  PMID: 9332747
12.  An investigation of risk factors for nocardial mastitis in central Alberta dairy herds 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  1991;32(4):227-231.
A case-control study was undertaken during the summer of 1989 in central Alberta dairy herds to identify independent predictors of nocardial mastitis. Thirty-seven herds with nocardial mastitis were matched with control herds based on herd size, milk production, and enrolment in Alberta Dairy Herd Improvement Services. Control herds were considered free of nocardial mastitis based on negative cultures of four weekly bulk tank milk samples and one composite milk sample collected during the same period from each lactating cow in the herd. A detailed questionnaire on herd management was completed during farm visits. The use of blanket dry cow therapy was not found to be a risk factor for nocardial mastitis. Dry cow therapy with intramammary products containing neomycin and the use of multidose vials of dry cow medications were the only predisposing factors identified as being significantly associated with nocardial mastitis in central Alberta dairy herds. Use of neomycin as a dry cow therapy increased the odds of nocardial mastitis occurring in these dairy herds by 169 times.
PMCID: PMC1481306  PMID: 17423768
13.  Streptococcus agalactiae mastitis: a review. 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  1997;38(7):429-437.
Streptococcus agalactiae continues to be a major cause of subclinical mastitis in dairy cattle and a source of economic loss for the industry. Veterinarians are often asked to provide information on herd level control and eradication of S. agalactiae mastitis. This review collects and collates relevant publications on the subject. The literature search was conducted in 1993 on the Agricola database. Articles related to S. agalactiae epidemiology, pathogen identification techniques, milk quality consequences, and control, prevention, and therapy were included. Streptococcus agalactiae is an oblique parasite of the bovine mammary gland and is susceptible to treatment with a variety of antibiotics. Despite this fact, where state or provincial census data are available, herd prevalence levels range from 11% (Alberta, 1991) to 47% (Vermont, 1985). Infection with S. agalactiae is associated with elevated somatic cell count and total bacteria count and a decrease in the quantity and quality of milk products produced. Bulk tank milk culture has, using traditional milk culture techniques, had a low sensitivity for identifying S. agalactiae at the herd level. New culture methods, using selective media and large inocula, have substantially improved the sensitivity of bulk tank culture. Efficacy of therapy on individual cows remains high. Protocols for therapy of all infected animals in a herd are generally successful in eradicating the pathogen from the herd, especially if they are followed up with good udder hygiene techniques.
PMCID: PMC1576741  PMID: 9220132
14.  Effect of somatic cell count and mastitis pathogens on milk composition in Gyr cows 
Background
Gyr cows are well adapted to tropical conditions, resistant to some tropical diseases and have satisfactory milk production. However, Gyr dairy herds have a high prevalence of subclinical mastitis, which negatively affects their milk yield and composition. The objectives of this study were (i) to evaluate the effects of seasonality, mammary quarter location (rear x front), mastitis-causing pathogen species, and somatic cell count (SCC) on milk composition in Gyr cows with mammary quarters as the experimental units and (ii) to evaluate the effects of seasonality and somatic cell count (SCC) on milk composition in Gyr cows with cows as the experimental units. A total of 221 lactating Gyr cows from three commercial dairy farms were selected for this study. Individual foremilk quarter samples and composite milk samples were collected once a month over one year from all lactating cows for analysis of SCC, milk composition, and bacteriological culture.
Results
Subclinical mastitis reduced lactose, nonfat solids and total solids content, but no difference was found in the protein and fat content between infected and uninfected quarters. Seasonality influenced milk composition both in mammary quarters and composite milk samples. Nevertheless, there was no effect of mammary quarter position on milk composition. Mastitis-causing pathogens affected protein, lactose, nonfat solids, and total solids content, but not milk fat content. Somatic cell count levels affected milk composition in both mammary quarters and composite samples of milk.
Conclusions
Intramammary infections in Gyr cows alter milk composition; however, the degree of change depends on the mastitis-causing pathogen. Somatic cell count is negatively associated with reduced lactose and nonfat solids content in milk. Seasonality significantly affects milk composition, in which the concentration of lactose, fat, protein, nonfat solids and total solids differs between dry and wet seasons in Gyr cows.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-67
PMCID: PMC3626830  PMID: 23566405
Somatic cell count; Gyr cows; Mastitis; Milk composition
15.  Housing system and herd size interactions in Norwegian dairy herds; associations with performance and disease incidence 
Background
According to the Norwegian animal welfare regulations, it has been forbidden to build new tie-stall barns since the end of 2004. Previous studies have shown that cow performance and health differ between housing systems. The interaction between housing system and herd size with respect to performance and disease incidence has not been evaluated.
Methods
Cow performance and health in 620 herds housed in free-stall barns were compared with in 192 herds housed in tie-stall barns based on a mail survey and data from the Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording and Cattle Health Systems. The housing systems herds were comparable with respect to herd size (15-55 cows). Associations between performance/disease incidence and housing system, herd size and year of building the cow barn were tested in general linear models, and values for fixed herd size of 20 and 50 cows were calculated. On the individual cow level mixed models were run to test the effect of among others housing system and herd size on test-day milk yield, and to evaluate lactation curves in different parities. All cows were of the Norwegian Red Breed.
Results
Average milk production per cow-year was 134 kg lower in free-stall herd than in tie-stall herds, but in the range 27-45 cows there was no significant difference in yields between the herd categories. In herds with less than 27 cows there were increasingly lower yields in free-stalls, particularly in first parity, whereas the yields were increasingly higher in free-stalls with more than 45 cows.
In free-stalls fertility was better, calving interval shorter, and the incidence rate of teat injuries, ketosis, indigestions, anoestrus and cystic ovaries was lower than in tie-stalls. All of these factors were more favourable in estimated 50-cow herds as compared to 20-cow herds. In the larger herd category, bulk milk somatic cell counts were higher, and the incidence rate of mastitis (all cases) and all diseases was lower.
Conclusion
This study has shown that there is an interaction between housing system and herd size, and that performance and health is not universally better in small free-stalls than in tie-stalls.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-52-14
PMCID: PMC2833153  PMID: 20158884
16.  Effects of antibiotic treatment of nonlactating dairy cows on antibiotic resistance patterns of bovine mastitis pathogens. 
Antibiotic resistance patterns of the major groups of bovine mastitis pathogens (Streptococcus agalactiae, other streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis) were examined by determining the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 13 different antibiotics against bacterial isolates from dairy cattle. The bacterial strains were obtained from milk samples from each cow in 21 New York state dairy herd surveys. In 12 herd surveys (high antibiotic-use group), all 365 cows received antibiotic infusions into the udder at the cessation of each lactation cycle. The 324 animals in the other nine herd surveys (low antibiotic-use group) did not routinely receive antibiotics during the nonlactation period. The MICs from the two groups were compared by calculating for each bacterial group the average MIC, the antibiotic concentration necessary to inhibit 90% of the isolates, and the antibiotic concentration necessary to inhibit 50% of the isolates. Increased resistance to all 13 antibiotics was observed with Streptococcus agalactiae isolates from the high antibiotic use herds. However, there was relatively little difference between the two groups in the resistance patterns of the other bacterial species examined. The most important finding of the study was the identification of a multiple beta-lactam resistance phenotype in Streptococcus agalactiae.
PMCID: PMC185940  PMID: 6660851
17.  Udder health in beef cows and its association with calf growth 
Background
Studies outside the Nordic countries have indicated that subclinical mastitis (measured by milk somatic cell count or the California Mastitis Test), intramammary infections (IMI), or blind quarters in beef cows may have negative effects on beef calf growth. Knowledge on prevalence of such udder health problems in Swedish beef cows is scarce. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to investigate subclinical mastitis, IMI and udder conformation in a number of beef cow herds. Production of β-lactamase in staphylococci was also investigated. Associations between certain cow factors and subclinical mastitis and IMI, and associations between cow and calf factors and 200 day calf weaning weight were also studied. The herds were visited once within a month after calving and once at weaning. Udder examination and quarter milk sampling, for somatic cell count and bacteriology, were performed in 8 to 12 cows per herd and occasion.
Results
Approximately 50%, 40% and 10% of the cows had subclinical mastitis, IMI, and at least one blind quarter, respectively, but the prevalence varied markedly between herds. Intramammary infections (mainly due to staphylococci) were identified in 13-16% of the milk samples. Less than 5% of the staphylococcal isolates produced β-lactamase. Approximately 11% of the cows sampled twice had the same IMI (mostly Staphylococcus aureus) at both samplings. Cow factors of importance for subclinical mastitis and/or IMI were teat and udder shape, breed, parity, presence of blind quarters, and cow hygiene. No significant associations were found between udder health parameters studied and calf weaning weights.
Conclusions
Subclinical mastitis and IMI, but not blind quarters, were common in beef cows, but the prevalence varied markedly between herds. Most IMI were caused by staphylococci and more than 95% of those were sensitive to penicillin. Cows with large funnel-shaped teats or pendulous udder after calving, and cows with blind quarters were at risk of having subclinical mastitis and/or IMI. Poor hygiene was also a risk factor for udder health problems. No significant associations were found between udder health and calf weaning weight. More studies on risk factors are warranted to improve advisory services on awareness and prevention of mastitis in beef cows.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-56-9
PMCID: PMC3922735  PMID: 24479386
Beef cows; Mastitis; Intra-mammary infections; Blind quarters; Risk factors; Calf weaning weight
18.  Paratuberculosis sero-status and milk production, SCC and calving interval in Irish dairy herds 
Irish Veterinary Journal  2009;62(Suppl 4):265-271.
The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of paratuberculosis sero-status on milk yield, fat, protein, somatic cell count and calving interval in Irish dairy herds. Serum from all animals over 12 months of age (n = 2,602) in 34 dairy herds was tested for antibodies to Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis using an ELISA. Herds were categorised by sero-status into positive, non-negative and negative, where a positive herd contained two or more positive cows, a non-negative herd contained only one positive cow and a negative herd contained no positive cows. Data at animal, parity and herd-level were analysed by multiple regression using general linear models. Positive herds (mean herd size = 129 cows) and non-negative herds (81 cows) were larger than negative herds (72 cows) (P < 0.01). Negative herds had the highest economic breeding index (EBI), while positive herds had the highest estimated breeding value (EBV) for milk yield. There was no significant effect of paratuberculosis sero-status at animal, parity or herd-level on milk yield, milk fat or protein production, somatic cell count score (SCCS) or calving interval. Negative herds tended to have a lower SCCS than positive and nonnegative herds (P = 0.087). This study only examined the effects of paratuberculosis sero-status but did not examine the clinical effects of Johne's disease at the farm or dairy industry levels.
doi:10.1186/2046-0481-62-4-265
PMCID: PMC3339344  PMID: 21851733
calving interval; dairy cows; ELISA; milk yield; paratuberculosis; SCC
19.  Prevalence of contagious mastitis pathogens in bulk tank milk in Québec 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2012;53(10):1071-1078.
The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of mycoplasma, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus agalactiae in bulk tank milk (BTM) in Québec dairy herds. BTM was sampled 3 times a month in 117 randomly selected dairy herds. Samples were submitted for S. aureus, S. agalactiae, and mycoplasma and for direct mycoplasma detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Mycoplasma spp. was identified at least once in 3 herds (2.6%) by primary culture and/or PCR and in 4 herds (3.4%) by enrichment culture and/or PCR. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated at least once in 99 (84.6%) and 112 (95.7%) herds in primary culture and after enrichment, respectively. Streptococcus agalactiae was isolated at least once in 9 (7.7%) and 10 (8.6%) herds in primary culture and after enrichment, respectively. Herd prevalence of mycoplasma was similar to that previously reported in Canada. Staphylococcus aureus is still by far the most important contagious mastitis pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3447309  PMID: 23543925
20.  Resistance to penicillin of Staphylococcus aureus isolates from cows with high somatic cell counts in organic and conventional dairy herds in Denmark 
Background
Quarter milk samples from cows with high risk of intramammary infection were examined to determine the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus (SA) and penicillin resistant SA (SAr) in conventional and organic dairy herds and herds converting to organic farming in a combined longitudinal and cross-sectional study.
Methods
20 conventional herds, 18 organic herds that converted before 1995, and 19 herds converting to organic farming in 1999 or 2000 were included in the study. Herds converting to organic farming were sampled three times one year apart; the other herds were sampled once. Risk of infection was estimated based on somatic cell count, milk production, breed, age and lactation stage.
Results
The high-risk cows represented about 49 % of the cows in the herds. The overall prevalence of SA and SAr among these cows was 29% (95% confidence interval: 24%–34%) and 4% (95% confidence interval: 2%–5%) respectively. The prevalence of penicillin resistance among SA infected cows was 12% (95% confidence interval: 6%–19%) when calculated from the first herd visits. No statistically significant differences were observed in the prevalence of SAr or the proportion of isolates resistant to penicillin between herd groups.
Conclusion
The proportion of isolates resistant to penicillin was low compared to studies in other countries except Norway and Sweden. Based on the low prevalence of penicillin resistance of SA, penicillin should still be the first choice of antimicrobial agent for treatment of bovine intramammary infection in Denmark.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-48-24
PMCID: PMC1687190  PMID: 17125515
21.  Managerial and environmental determinants of clinical mastitis in Danish dairy herds 
Background
Several management and environmental factors are known as contributory causes of clinical mastitis in dairy herd. The study objectives were to describe the structure of herd-specific mastitis management and environmental factors and to assess the relevance of these herd-specific indicators to mastitis incidence rate.
Methods
Disease reports from the Danish Cattle Data Base and a management questionnaire from 2,146 herds in three Danish regions were analyzed to identify and characterize risk factors of clinical mastitis. A total of 94 (18 continuous and 76 discrete) management and production variables were screened in separate bivariate regression models. Variables associated with mastitis incidence rate at a p-value < 0.10 were examined with a factor analysis to assess the construct of data. Separately, a multivariable regression model was used to estimate the association of management variables with herd mastitis rate.
Results
Three latent factors (quality of labor, region of Denmark and claw trimming, and quality of outdoor holding area) were identified from 14 variables. Daily milk production per cow, claw disease, quality of labor and region of Denmark were found to be significantly associated with mastitis incidence rate. A common multiple regression analysis with backward and forward selection procedures indicated there were 9 herd-specific risk factors.
Conclusion
Though risk factors ascertained by farmer-completed surveys explained a small percentage of the among-herd variability in crude herd-specific mastitis rates, the study suggested that farmer attitudes toward mastitis and lameness treatment were important determinants for mastitis incidence rate. Our factor analysis identified one significant latent factor, which was related to labor quality on the farm.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-50-4
PMCID: PMC2268923  PMID: 18257917
22.  Longitudinal Analysis of Prototheca zopfii-Specific Immune Responses: Correlation with Disease Progression and Carriage in Dairy Cows 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(3):1181-1186.
In order to characterize the humoral and cellular immune responses to bovine mammary protothecosis, serum and whey samples obtained from 72 dairy cows assigned to four different clinical stages of infection were examined for specific antibodies by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay techniques. Milk samples were analyzed for the total numbers of excreted algal cells and somatic cells. After characterization of the course of immune induction in bovine protothecal mastitis, a long-term sentinel study was performed in an affected herd in order to investigate disease progression. A total of 61 dairy cows with protothecal mastitis were examined for shedding of algae cells and for local immune responses three times in 6-month intervals. During acute and chronic stages of protothecosis, significantly elevated specific antibody activities in sera were detected. A strong correlation of whey immunoglobulin A (IgA) and whey IgG1 antibody activity with the total counts of somatic cells in milk was observed, whereas only a weak correlation of whey IgA and whey IgG1 concentrations to the number of algal cells excreted with the milk was seen. Our results from the sentinel long-term study of infected cows revealed that 70.5% of the persistently infected animals were continuously shedding the pathogen. About 4.9% of the animals showed an intermittent shedding, whereas 18% of the cows were tested culturally negative throughout the study. It can be assumed that Prototheca zopfii mastitis in dairy cows is maintained on the herd level by subclinically infected alga-shedding cows.
doi:10.1128/JCM.41.3.1181-1186.2003
PMCID: PMC150299  PMID: 12624049
23.  Occurrence of clinical mastitis in primiparous Estonian dairy cows in different housing conditions 
Background
Objectives of the study were to document the impact of some management factors on the occurrence of clinical mastitis in primiparous dairy cows and to identify common udder pathogens of clinical mastitis in freshly calved heifers and multiparous cows on the day of calving.
Methods
A one-year study was conducted during 2004 and 2005 in 11 selected Estonian dairy herds. Data consisted of 68 heifers with clinical mastitis and 995 heifers without clinical mastitis on the day of calving. Multivariable logistic regression with a random herd effect was used to investigate any association between housing system or the time interval from movement of heifers to the calving facility and day of calving on occurrence of clinical mastitis. Milk samples for bacteriological analysis were collected from affected heifers and multiparous cows on the day of calving
Results
Clinical mastitis occurrence in the study population of freshly calved heifers equalled 6.1 %. Housing system was not a significant risk factor for clinical mastitis of freshly calved heifers.
Moving heifers to the cowbarn less than two weeks before calving in tiestall farms increased risk (OR = 5.9 p = 0.001) for clinical mastitis at parturition. The most frequently isolated udder pathogens among heifers were Escherichia coli (22.1%), Streptococcus uberis (19.1%) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (8.8%). In comparison, the main pathogen in multiparous cows with clinical mastitis at parturition was Staphylococcus aureus (11.2%).
Conclusion
Moving heifers to the calving facilities too late in tiestall farms increased risk for clinical mastitis at parturition. The isolated udder pathogens did not differ significantly in tiestall farms compared to freestall farms in heifers, but differences were found between heifers and multiparous cows at parturition.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-48-21
PMCID: PMC1687189  PMID: 17118174
24.  Associations between Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis antibodies in bulk tank milk, season of sampling and protocols for managing infected cows 
Background
The objective of this study was to identify associations between the concentration of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) antibodies in bulk milk and potential risk factors in herd management and herd characteristics, explaining high MAP antibody titers in milk. An extensive questionnaire was administered to 292 organic and conventional dairy farms from New York, Wisconsin and Oregon. Bulk milk samples were taken from each farm for MAP enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A general linear model was constructed with MAP ELISA value as the outcome variable and the management factors and herd characteristics as independent variables, while at the same time controlling for the study design variables of state, herd size, and production system (organic or conventional). High bulk tank MAP ELISA value may be due to either a high prevalence of MAP in a herd with many cows contributing to the antibody titer or due to a few infected cows that produce large quantities of antibodies.
Results
Results of the regression models indicated that bulk milk ELISA value was associated with season of sampling and the presence or absence of protocols for managing MAP-positive cows. The concentration of MAP antibodies in bulk milk varied seasonally with a peak in the summer and low concentrations in the winter months. When compared to farms that had never observed clinical Johne’s disease, keeping MAP-positive cows or only culling them after a period of delay was associated with an increase in optical density.
Conclusions
The seasonal variation in MAP antibody titers, with a peak in the summer, may be due to a seasonal increase in MAP-bacterial load. Additionally, seasonal calving practices may contribute to seasonal fluctuations in MAP antibody titers in bulk tank milk. Keeping MAP-positive cows increases the antibody titer in bulk milk, likely due to direct antibody production in the infected cow and indirect triggering of antibody production in herdmates.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-234
PMCID: PMC4220823  PMID: 24283287
Cattle; Mycobacteirum avium subsp. paratuberculosis; Antibodies; Bulk-tank milk; ELISA
25.  Cow, Farm, and Management Factors During the Dry Period that Determine the Rate of Clinical Mastitis After Calving 
Journal of dairy science  2007;90(8):3764-3776.
The purpose of the research was to investigate cow characteristics, farm facilities, and herd management strategies during the dry period to examine their joint influence on the rate of clinical mastitis after calving. Data were collected over a 2-yr period from 52 commercial dairy farms throughout England and Wales. Cows were separated for analysis into those housed for the dry period (8,710 cow-dry periods) and those at pasture (9,964 cow-dry periods). Multilevel models were used within a Bayesian framework with 2 response variables, the occurrence of a first case of clinical mastitis within the first 30 d of lactation and time to the first case of clinical mastitis during lactation. A variety of cow and herd management factors were identified as being associated with an increased rate of clinical mastitis and these were found to occur throughout the dry period. Significant cow factors were increased parity and at least one somatic cell count ≥200,000 cells/mL in the 90 d before drying off. A number of management factors related to hygiene were significantly associated with an increased rate of clinical mastitis. These included measures linked to the administration of dry-cow treatments and management of the early and late dry-period accommodation and calving areas. Other farm factors associated with a reduced rate of clinical mastitis were vaccination with a leptospirosis vaccine, selection of dry-cow treatments for individual cows within a herd rather than for the herd as a whole, routine body condition scoring of cows at drying off, and a pasture rotation policy of grazing dry cows for a maximum of 2 wk before allowing the pasture to remain nongrazed for a period of 4 wk. Models demonstrated a good ability to predict the farm incidence rate of clinical mastitis in a given year, with model predictions explaining over 85% of the variability in the observed data. The research indicates that specific dry-period management strategies have an important influence on the rate of clinical mastitis during the next lactation.
doi:10.3168/jds.2007-0107
PMCID: PMC1949869  PMID: 17638988
mastitis; dry period; dairy cow; Bayesian multilevel model

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