a1 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Mechanical and Bioprocess Engineering, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hanover, Germany
a2 Chamber of Agriculture Lower Saxony, Hanover, Germany
a3 Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Osnabrück, Germany
a4 Institute for Food Quality and Food Safety, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany
The prevalence of intramammary infections (IMI) and subclinical mastitis (SCM) in 436 German Holstein heifers was put in relation with clinical findings of the udder and data regarding individual rearing and housing conditions of the animals. The clinical examination took place on the day of the livestock auction (at approximately 41 d in milk, DIM). On that day, 31% of the heifers had IMI in at least one quarter, and 18% of all quarters were infected. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most prevalent bacteria isolated, accounting for 68% of the positive samples. Data were analysed by logistic regression. Criteria such as ‘juvenile intersucking’, ‘teats shorter than 35 mm’, ‘teats with a diameter <18 mm’ and ‘udder oedema at the day of the auction’ were associated with IMI in heifers during the first 41 DIM. Loose-housing systems during pregnancy (as opposed to tie-stalls), juvenile intersucking, clinical mastitis during the first week after calving, teat diameters <18 mm, and employing organic bedding material in the stables before calving were associated with subclinical mastitis.
(Received February 28 2011)
(Accepted March 01 2012)
(Online publication June 07 2012)