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Br Vet J. 1991 Sep-Oct;147(5):413-20.

A field investigation of subclinical mastitis in sheep in southern England.

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Department of Animal Health, Royal Veterinary College, Potters Bar, England.


The prevalence, aetiology and epidemiological features of subclinical mastitis were investigated in 358 lowland ewes in seven flocks in southern England. Milk samples (2092) were collected at 3-weekly intervals; those which were both bacteriologically and Whiteside test positive were deemed to have originated from glands with subclinical mastitis. The period prevalence of subclinical mastitis was 11.7% and the prevalence remained relatively constant over the course of lactation (5.5-7.0%). The predominant bacterial isolates from 48 glands with subclinical mastitis were streptococci (42%), coagulase-negative staphylococci (33%), Pasteurella haemolytica (17%) and Staphylococcus aureus (8%). Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the predominant isolates (53%) from samples which did not show a positive Whiteside test result. The prevalence of subclinical mastitis increased with age of ewe but was not influenced by the presence of teat lesions. There was a significant association between the development of clinical mastitis (26 glands) and antecedent subclinical mastitis caused by the same organism (10 glands).

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