Ten herds with low somatic cell counts in bulk milk had an incidence of clinical mastitis of only 2.2 per 100 cows whereas 10 other herds with similarly low cell counts had an incidence of 53.6 per 100 cows. The major pathogens in the herds with a high incidence were Escherichia coli, Streptococcus uberis, Staphylococcus aureus and the coagulase-negative staphylococci. The percentage of uninfected quarters in the herds with a high incidence of clinical mastitis was 21.4 per cent compared with 12.2 per cent in the herds with a low incidence of clinical mastitis. The prevalence of coagulase-negative staphylococci, Corynebacterium bovis and Micrococcus species was higher in the herds with a low incidence of clinical mastitis. There was a significant linear relationship between the percentage of uninfected quarters and the incidence of clinical mastitis in the herds with a high incidence of clinical mastitis. In herds with a low incidence of clinical mastitis significantly less teat disinfection after milking was practised. The results suggest that infections with minor pathogens tend to protect cows against mastitis, and that teat disinfection after milking may increase the percentage of uninfected quarters and lead to an increased risk of clinical mastitis in herds with low somatic cell counts in bulk milk.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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