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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2004 Sep;16(5):397-402.

Mycoplasma otitis in California calves.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


A retrospective study of Mycoplasma otitis in California calves submitted for necropsy between 1993 and 2002 was conducted to characterize the demographic features of the disease and the pathologic findings associated with infection. Sixty-one confirmed cases of Mycoplasma otitis were identified among 20,525 necropsied cattle. All affected animals were calves, ranging in age from 2 weeks to 4 months and with a median age of 1.5 months. Ninety-two percent of the cases were dairy breeds. A higher percent of necropsied calves with Mycoplasma otitis were males (0.45%) than females (0.23%). The proportion of cases that had Mycoplasma otitis increased from 1993 to 2002, and there was a significant (P < 0.05) seasonal distribution, with the highest proportion in the spring and the lowest in the summer months. Infections involved both the middle and inner ear and were characterized by a suppurative inflammatory response with extensive bony involvement. Three species of Mycoplasma were isolated from the ears: M. bovis, M. bovirhinis, and M. alkalescens. Concurrent pneumonia occurred in 47 cases (77%), and Mycoplasma was isolated from the lungs of 30 of those cases. The increasing proportion of Mycoplasma otitis cases in the past 10 years emphasizes the importance of identifying risk factors that could be modified to lower the incidence of this disease in calves.

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