Lopez-Benavides, M.G., Williamson, J.H., Lacy-Hulbert, S.J. & Cursons, R.T. (2009). Heifer teats sprayed in the dry period with an iodine teat sanitizer have reduced Streptococcus uberis teat-end contamination and less Streptococcus uberis intra-mammary infections at calving. Veterinary Microbiology, 134(1-2), 186-191.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3849
Heifers managed under pastoral conditions are at risk from Streptococcus uberis mastitis infections at calving. A total of 397 heifers from six farms around New Zealand were enrolled in a study to identify and enumerate S. uberis on teat-ends of heifers in the peri-partum period, and to understand the effect of teat-spraying in the pre-calving period on the prevalence and incidence of S. uberis mastitis post-calving. Heifers were randomly assigned to Control or Sprayed groups. Sprayed heifers were teat-sprayed once, three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) with a commercial iodine-based teat sanitizer, starting at 3 weeks prior to calving and ending at day of calving. Across three farms, all glands of cows in both groups were sampled at calving to determine S. uberis intra-mammary infection (IMI) prevalence. For all farms, clinical mastitis (CM) cases detected during the week after calving were sampled and submitted for bacteriological analysis. Swabbing of teat-ends of 54 heifers from one farm showed that heifers had a pre-existing S. uberis contamination averaging 610 colony-forming units per swab (cfu/swab), at 3 weeks prior to calving. At calving, teat-end contamination was 560 cfu/swab for Sprayed heifers and 1775 cfu/swab for Control heifers. Two weeks after calving, teat-end contamination was similar between both groups, at 30 cfu/swab. The prevalence of S. uberis IMI was significantly lower in the Sprayed (3.5% glands) vs. the Control (7.4%) heifers in the first week after calving. There was a trend for Sprayed heifers (3.6% heifers) to have a lower incidence of S. uberis CM compared with Control heifers (7.4% heifers). It is concluded that teat-spraying in the dry period is a management option that could contribute to controlling heifer S. uberis mastitis in the transition period.