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J Dairy Sci. 1995 Jul;78(7):1619-28.

Survey of intramammary infections in dairy heifers at breeding age and first parturition.

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Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6610, USA.


A survey was conducted to determine and contrast prevalence of IMI in nulligravid and primigravid dairy heifers pre- and postpartum. Contrasts were made to evaluate the risk factors of location of dairy, trimester of gestation, and season of sampling on IMI. Twenty-eight dairies in California, Louisiana, Vermont, and Washington were studied. Lacteal secretions were collected aseptically from heifers at breeding age (8 to 19 mo) from one side of the gland and again at 4 d postpartum from all quarters. Of the quarters sampled, 65.6% prepartum and 64.0% postpartum were free of IMI. The percentages of quarters with IMI from coagulase-negative staphylococci or Staphylococcus aureus IMI were 27.1 and 9% prepartum and 21.8 and 2.9% postpartum. Staphylococcus aureus IMI were most prevalent in Louisiana during the months other than summer. Location, herd, and season significantly influenced prevalence of IMI. The prevalence of IMI was greatest during the last trimester of pregnancy, ranging from 49.2% in the winter to 36.8% in the summer. The significant effects of herd location and season suggest that management variables influence prevalence of heifer IMI. Because prevalence of IMI was greatest during the last trimester of pregnancy compared with prevalence during earlier stages of pregnancy, the heifer may be most susceptible to this disease during this period of first gestation.

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