Clinical mastitis in dairy cattle in Ontario: frequency of occurrence and bacteriological isolates.
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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.