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J Dairy Res. 1980 Feb;47(1):11-8.

Susceptibility of the bovine udder to bacterial infection in the dry period.


The teats of 18 cows were externally exposed to infection with mastitis organisms by dipping them daily for 1 or 2 weeks in a mixed suspension of Streptococcus dysgalactiae and Str. uberis at the start, the middle or the end of the dry period. The teat sinuses of quarters which remained uninfected after external exposure at the beginning or the middle of the dry period were then infused with the same strains of streptococci. Of the 9 quarters infected following external exposure 8 occurred in animals exposed at the start and one in the middle of the dry period. Thirty-six new infections occurred after infusion of bacteria into the teat sinuses of 38 quarters. In a further trial with 10 cows, Staphylococcus aureus and Str. zooepidemicus were inoculated into the distal 3 mm of the streak canals of 5 cows immediately after drying-off and into those of 5 cows which had been dry for 28 weeks. Animals were slaughtered 48 h later and infection determined by teat puncture. Five infections occurred in cows which were at the start of the dry period and only one in the cows dry for 28 weeks. It is suggested that these differences in the rates of new infection between the early dry period and a very extended dry period are due to differences in the ease with which bacteria can penetrate the teat canal. At the later stage bacterial growth through the teat canal appeared to be inhibited.

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