A survey was conducted of the prevalence of environmental pathogens, especially Streptococcus uberis, as causes of clinical mastitis in dairy cows. The response of intramammary infections with S uberis to conventional treatment was monitored by taking milk samples for bacteriology and somatic cell counting seven, 14 and 21 days after the treatment. The results showed that 51 per cent of the infections failed to respond, and the odds of cases failing to respond was significantly increased when the individual quarter somatic cell count seven days after the treatment was greater than 201,000 cells/ml. Ninety-six per cent of the suspected S uberis isolates identified by culture were confirmed as S uberis by using the API 20 Strep system. Restriction endonuclease fingerprinting was used to type the strains of S uberis isolated from 75 milk samples from 32 cows. Analysis showed that 96 per cent of the cases of S uberis that failed to respond to conventional treatment were persistent infections with one strain rather than reinfections with different strains. The persistent cases of S uberis were treated further with an extended course of intramammary preparations containing either procaine penicillin with dihydrostreptomycin or cefquinome. There was no significant difference between the cure rates achieved by the two preparations, and 55 per cent of the cases that had failed to respond to conventional treatment responded to the additional treatment.
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↵Dr Milne’s present address is Premier Vets, 23 Brynford Street, Holywell, Flintshire CH8 7RD
↵Mr Doherty’s present address is Jubilee Veterinary Centre, 3 Jubilee Road, Newtonards, County Down BT23 4YH
↵Professor Fitzpatrick’s present address is the Moredun Research Institute, International Research Centre, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik EH26 0PZ