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Low-input goat farming is one of the earliest agricultural activities and a common occupation in arid and semi-arid regions and in developing countries worldwide.1 Its importance lies in the ability of goats to utilise woody plants in degraded, mountainous and remote pasture lands that are not suitable for cultivation or other uses.2
In Greece, there are about 2.8 million milking goats producing about 385,000 tons of milk each year.3 Over the past 20 years, intensive goat farming systems have rapidly emerged in the country. Nevertheless, the traditional, low-input farming systems are still dominant and prevail mainly in less favoured areas with poorly diversified rural economies and limited employment opportunities.2
Under these conditions, the sustainability of the farms is marginal and factors that negatively impact on income need to be kept to a minimum. Herd health problems are of great importance in reducing overall productive potential4 and, in particular, bacterial intramammary infections (IMIs) leading to clinical or subclinical mastitis are one of the most significant herd health factors.5,6
IMIs are considered to have an obvious monetary significance associated with several direct and indirect production losses (in both milk quantity and quality), increased replacement cost and high expenditures for their prevention, diagnosis, treatment and control.7 In general, their cost is mainly determined by the lost revenues and specific costs …
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