ID Lelystad, Institute for Animal Science and Health
Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Summer mastitis is an acute suppurative bacterial infection of the udder in heifers and dry cows. To ascertain the possible role of flies in the transmission of the disease, experimental exposures of recipient heifers to Hydrotaea irritans previously exposed to bacteria were carried out. Flies were allowed to feed on secretions from clinical cases of summer mastitis. The pathogens present were the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Actinomyces pyogenes, Stuart-Schwan cocci, Peptococcus indolicus, Fusobacterium necrophorum and Bacterioides species. The teats of eight heifers were exposed to flies with verified pathogen content. Two teats of each animal were deliberately damaged before fly exposure. One teat was cut, another pricked with insect needles to mimic insect bites. Two of the heifers developed summer mastiris in the quarters where teats had been cut. The bacterial species isolated from these quarters corresponded to those that had previously been fed to the flies. For the first time, it is now demonstrated that H. irritans is capable of transmitting summer mastitis pathogens and so causing summer mastitis in recipient heifers. Lesions on the teat orifice may be a predisposing factor in the development of the disease.
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