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Vet J. 2016 Oct;216:142-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2016.08.001. Epub 2016 Aug 9.

Mycoplasma mastitis in cattle: To cull or not to cull.

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The Oaks, Nutshell Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU9 0HG, UK. Electronic address:
Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7060, USA.
Kimron Veterinary Institute, POB 12, Beit Dagan 50250, Israel.


Bovine mastitis caused by mycoplasmas, in particular Mycoplasma bovis, is a major problem for milk production and animal welfare in large dairy herds in the USA and a serious, although sporadic, disease in Europe and the Middle East. It causes severe damage to the udder of cattle and is largely untreatable by chemotherapy. Mycoplasma mastitis has a distinct epidemiology and a unique set of risk factors, the most important of which is large herd size. The disease is often self-limiting, disappearing within months of outbreaks, sometimes without deliberate intervention. Improved molecular diagnostic tests are leading to more rapid detection of mycoplasmas. Typing tests, such as multi-locus sequence typing, can help trace the source of outbreaks. An approach to successful control is proposed, which involves regular monitoring and rapid segregation or culling of infected cows. Serious consideration should be given by owners of healthy dairy herds to the purchase of M. bovis-free replacements. Increased cases of disease could occur in Europe and Israel if the trend for larger dairy herds continues.


Control; Dairy cattle; Mastitis; Mycoplasma; Risk factors

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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