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Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 2003 Mar;19(1):199-221.

Mycoplasmal mastitis in dairy herds.

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Quality Milk Production Services, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, 22 Thornwood Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850-1263, USA.


Mycoplasmal bovine mastitis is potentially a highly contagious disease that can cause severe economic problems in affected herds. The purchase of replacement heifers and cows are frequently the origin of mycoplasmal mastitis outbreaks in previously Mycoplasma-free herds. Purchased cows and heifers should be quarantined and tested for mycoplasmal mastitis before admission to the regular herd. Detection of Mycoplasma-infected cows by culture of milk is straightforward, although there are problems of sensitivity for its detection in milk samples that are inherent to the nature of the disease and laboratory procedures. After detection of infected cows, the best way to protect the herd is to culture all cows in the herd, cows with clinical mastitis, and all heifers and cows after calving and before entering the milking herd. Control of mycoplasmal mastitis requires test and culling from the herd of Mycoplasma-positive cows if possible. When a large number of cows are infected, strict segregation with adequate management is an option; however, animals in this group should never re-enter the Mycoplama-free herd. The functioning of the milking equipment and milking procedures should be evaluated carefully and any flaws corrected. There is no treatment for mycoplasmal mastitis, and vaccination has not proven to be efficacious to prevent, decrease the incidence, or ameliorate the clinical signs of mycoplasmal mastitis. Waste milk should not be fed to calves without pasteurization. M bovis may cause several other pathologies in animals of different ages on a farm, including pneumonia, arthritis, and ear infections. The survival of mycoplasmas in different farm microenvironments needs to be further investigated for its impact on the epidemiology of the disease.

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