The association between quarter somatic-cell counts and clinical mastitis in three British dairy herds

E. J. Peeler, M. J. Green, J. L. Fitzpatrick, L. E. Green

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26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The association between quarter somatic-cell counts (QSCCs) of milk and the risk of clinical mastitis (CM) was investigated in a 1-year study on three dairy herds in Somerset, UK. The three herds had 95-130 milking cows and an annual mean bulk milk somatic-cell count (BMSCC) of <150 × 103 cells/ml. The farms were visited every 4-6 weeks at morning milking when quarter-milk samples were collected. The farmers recorded all cases of CM and were trained to collect sterile milk samples from affected quarters, before treatment for bacteriology. The three herds had CM incidence rates of 25.4, 55.2, and 67.6 quarter-cases per 100 cow-years. Escherichia coli and Streptococcus uberis were cultured from approximately 50% of cases. QSCC was categorised and the risk of CM occurring in the month after the QSCC was examined using multilevel models to account for the correlated nature of the dependent data. Three models were developed: one for all cases of CM, one for those caused by coliforms and one for those caused by S. uberis. When all cases of CM were considered, quarters with somatic-cell count (SCC) 21-100 × 103 cells/ml had reduced odds (OR = 0.60, P = 0.06) and quarters with SCC >200 × 103 cells/ml has over three time the odds (OR = 3.7, P < 0.01) of CM compared with QSCC 1-20 × 103 cells/ml. When only coliform CM were investigated, quarters with SCC 6-200 × 103 cells/ml had reduced odds of coliform CM (OR = 0.47, P = 0.04) compared with QSCC 1-5 × 103 cells/ml, and SCC >200 × 103 cells/ml were not significantly different from the baseline. Finally, when S. uberis CM were investigated, quarters with SCC >200 × 103 cells/ml had more than three times the odds of S. uberis CM compared with QSCC 1-20 × 103 cells/ml (OR = 3.73, P < 0.01). QSCC <21 × 103 and >200 × 103 cells/ml are associated with increased odds of CM in the following 4-6 weeks; this association may be pathogen specific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Volume59
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the three dairy farmers for their participation and patience and acknowledge the contribution of Prof. Kenton Morgan to this study. The Milk Development Council funded EJP and this study. MJG is supported by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council studentship at the University of Warwick.

Keywords

  • Clinical mastitis
  • Multilevel modelling
  • Prospective
  • Quarter somatic-cell count
  • Risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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