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Pathogen profile of clinical mastitis in Irish milk-recording herds reveals a complex aetiology
  1. O. M. Keane, BA(mod), PGradDip, PhD1,
  2. K. E. Budd, BSc1,
  3. J. Flynn2 and
  4. F. McCoy, MVB, MSc3
  1. 1Animal & Bioscience Research Department, Animal & Grassland Research & Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland
  2. 2Animal & Grassland Research & Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
  3. 3Animal & Bioscience Research Department, Animal & Grassland Research & Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
  1. E-mail for correspondence: orla.keane{at}teagasc.ie

Abstract

Effective mastitis control requires knowledge of the predominant pathogen challenges on the farm. In order to quantify this challenge, the aetiological agents associated with clinical mastitis in 30 milk-recording dairy herds in Ireland over a complete lactation were investigated. Standard bacteriology was performed on 630 pretreatment quarter milk samples, of which 56 per cent were culture-positive, 42 per cent culture-negative and 2 per cent contaminated. Two micro-organisms were isolated from almost 5 per cent of the culture-positive samples. The bacteria isolated were Staphylococcus aureus (23 per cent), Streptococcus uberis (17 per cent), Escherichia coli (9 per cent), Streptococcus species (6 per cent), coagulase-negative Staphylococci (4 per cent) and other species (1 per cent). A wide variety of bacterial species were associated with clinical mastitis, with S aureus the most prevalent pathogen overall, followed by S uberis. However, the bacterial challenges varied widely from farm to farm. In comparison with previous reports, in the present study, the contagious pathogens S aureus and Streptococcus agalactiae were less commonly associated with clinical mastitis, whereas, the environmental pathogens S uberis and E coli were found more commonly associated with clinical mastitis. While S aureus remains the pathogen most commonly associated with intramammary infection in these herds, environmental pathogens, such as S uberis and E coli also present a considerable challenge.

  • Accepted April 16, 2013.

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  • Accepted April 16, 2013.
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