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Vet Res. 2003 Sep-Oct;34(5):507-19.

Coliform mastitis.

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Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio, 44691, USA.


Gram-negative bacteria that commonly cause bovine mastitis are classified as environmental pathogens. The point sources of coliform bacteria that cause infections include bedding materials, soil, manure and other organic matter in the environment of cows. Rates of coliform mastitis increase during climatic periods that maximize populations in the environment. The portal of entry into the mammary gland for Gram-negative bacteria is the teat canal. Once in the gland, bacteria must utilize available substrates in the mammary secretion to replicate and evade host defenses. Rates of coliform mastitis are greater during the transitional phases of the non- lactating period than during lactation. The ability to infect the non-lactating gland is directly related to the ability of bacteria to acquire iron from the mammary secretion. The primary host defense against coliform mastitis during lactation is the elimination of bacteria by neutrophils migrating into the gland in response to inflammation. Damage to the host is mediated by the release of endotoxin. The severity and duration of clinical signs associated with coliform mastitis are reduced by the use of core-antigen bacterins.

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