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Aust Vet J. 2000 Nov;78(11):744-50.

Mastitis, polyarthritis and abortion caused by Mycoplasma species bovine group 7 in dairy cattle.

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Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Private Mail Bag 8, Camden, New South Wales 2570.



To report an outbreak of mastitis, polyarthritis and abortion caused by Mycoplasma sp bovine group 7 in three large, centrally-managed dairies and to review the relevant literature.


Epidemiological, clinical and laboratory data were analysed, collated and reported. Multidisciplinary procedures were employed. These included clinical assessment and comprehensive laboratory investigations of affected calves, aborted foetuses and milk samples. Mycoplasma cultures and genetic analyses of isolates were undertaken to identify the aetiological agent.


About 30% of 240 calves usually kept in a calf rearing facility developed severe polyarthritis as a result of Mycoplasma sp bovine group 7 infection between 2 and 3 weeks of age. Multiple abortions occurred on these farms. Mycoplasma sp bovine group 7 was recovered from the fibrinopurulent synovial exudates of four 14-day-old calves, from the stomach contents and lungs of two aborted foetuses, from 14 of 21 bulk milk and four of 10 mastitic quarters. Three bulk colostrum samples cultured during the outbreak were negative for mycoplasma.


Mycoplasma sp bovine group 7 caused significant economic losses as a result of polyarthritis, abortion and mastitis. The disease probably originated from udder infections with spread being facilitated by the decreased use of tetracycline in the treatment of mastitis. Neonatal calves were most likely infected by the consumption of milk contaminated with the organism. Abortions presumably resulted from mycoplasmaemia. This appears to be the first report in Australia of bovine abortion resulting from Mycoplasma sp infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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