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J Dairy Sci. 2010 Apr;93(4):1551-60. doi: 10.3168/jds.2009-2599.

Effects of clinical mastitis caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and other organisms on the probability of conception in New York State Holstein dairy cows.

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Section of Epidemiology, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


The objective of this study was to estimate the effects of different types of clinical mastitis (CM) on the probability of conception in New York State Holstein cows. Data were available on 55,372 artificial inseminations (AI) in 23,695 lactations from 14,148 cows in 7 herds. We used generalized linear mixed models to model whether or not a cow conceived after a particular AI. Independent variables included AI number (first, second, third, fourth), parity, season when AI occurred, farm, type of CM (due to gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, or other organisms) in the 6 wk before and after an AI, and occurrence of other diseases. Older cows were less likely to conceive. Inseminations occurring in the summer were least likely to be successful. Retained placenta decreased the probability of conception. Conception was also less likely with each successive AI. The probability of conception associated with the first AI was 0.29. The probability of conception decreased to 0.26, 0.25, and 0.24 for the second, third, and fourth AI, respectively. Clinical mastitis occurring any time between 14 d before until 35 d after an AI was associated with a lower probability of conception; the greatest effect was an 80% reduction associated with gram-negative CM occurring in the week after AI. In general, CM due to gram-negative bacteria had a more detrimental effect on probability of conception than did CM caused by gram-positive bacteria or other organisms. Furthermore, CM had more effect on probability of conception immediately around the time of AI. Additional information about CM (i.e., its timing with respect to AI, and whether the causative agent is gram-positive or gram-negative bacteria, or other organisms) is valuable to dairy personnel in determining why some cows are unable to conceive in a timely manner. These findings are also beneficial for the management of mastitic cows (especially those with gram-negative CM) when mastitis occurs close to AI.

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