Send to

Choose Destination
Acta Vet Scand. 2011 Feb 8;53:4. doi: 10.1186/1751-0147-53-4.

Udder pathogens and their resistance to antimicrobial agents in dairy cows in Estonia.

Author information

Department of Therapy, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, 51014, Estonia.



The goal of this study was to estimate the distribution of udder pathogens and their antibiotic resistance in Estonia during the years 2007-2009.


The bacteriological findings reported in this study originate from quarter milk samples collected from cows on Estonian dairy farms that had clinical or subclinical mastitis. The samples were submitted by local veterinarians to the Estonian Veterinary and Food Laboratory during 2007-2009. Milk samples were examined by conventional bacteriology. In vitro antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed with the disc diffusion test. Logistic regression with a random herd effect to control for clustering was used for statistical analysis.


During the study period, 3058 clinical mastitis samples from 190 farms and 5146 subclinical mastitis samples from 274 farms were investigated. Positive results were found in 57% of the samples (4680 out of 8204), and the proportion did not differ according to year (p > 0.05). The proportion of bacteriologically negative samples was 22.3% and that of mixed growth was 20.6%. Streptococcus uberis (Str. uberis) was the bacterium isolated most frequently (18.4%) from cases of clinical mastitis, followed by Escherichia coli (E. coli) (15.9%) and Streptococcus agalactiae (Str. agalactiae) (11.9%). The bacteria that caused subclinical mastitis were mainly Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) (20%) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (15.4%). The probability of isolating S. aureus from milk samples was significantly higher on farms that had fewer than 30 cows, when compared with farms that had more than 100 cows (p < 0.005). A significantly higher risk of Str. agalactiae infection was found on farms with more than 600 cows (p = 0.034) compared with smaller farms. The proportion of S. aureus and CNS isolates that were resistant to penicillin was 61.4% and 38.5%, respectively. Among the E. coli isolates, ampicillin, streptomycin and tetracycline resistance were observed in 24.3%, 15.6% and 13.5%, respectively.


This study showed that the main pathogens associated with clinical mastitis were Str. uberis and E. coli. Subclinical mastitis was caused mainly by S. aureus and CNS. The number of S. aureus and Str. agalactiae isolates depended on herd size. Antimicrobial resistance was highly prevalent, especially penicillin resistance in S. aureus and CNS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center