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J Dairy Sci. 2011 Oct;94(10):4863-77. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-4000.

The effect of recurrent episodes of clinical mastitis caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and other organisms on mortality and culling in 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 recurrent episodes of different types of clinical mastitis (CM) caused by gram-positive (Streptococcus spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus spp.) and gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas) bacteria, and other organisms (Arcanobacterium pyogenes, Mycoplasma, Corynebacterium bovis, yeast, miscellaneous) on the probability of mortality and culling in Holstein dairy cows. Data from 30,233 lactations in cows of 7 dairy farms in New York State were analyzed. Cows were followed for the first 10 mo in lactation, or until death or culling occurred, or until the end of our study period. Generalized linear mixed models with a Poisson error distribution were used to study the effects of recurrent cases of the different types of CM and several other factors (herd, parity, month of lactation, current year and season, profitability, net replacement cost, other diseases) on cows' probability of death (model 1) or being culled (model 2). Primiparous and multiparous cows were modeled separately because they had different risks of mortality and culling and potentially different CM effects on mortality and culling. Approximately 30% of multiparous cows had at least one case of CM in lactation compared with 16.6% of primiparous cows. Multipara also had higher lactational incidence risks of second (10.7%) and third (4.4%) cases than primipara (3.7% and 1.1%, respectively). For primipara, CM increased the probability of death, with each successive case occurring in a month being increasingly lethal. In multipara, gram-negative CM increased the probability of death, especially when the gram-negative case was the first or second CM case in lactation. Primiparous cows with CM were more likely to be culled after CM than if they did not have CM, particularly after a second or third case. In multipara, any type of CM increased the probability of being culled. Gram-negative CM cases were associated with the numerically highest risk of culling.

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