Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland. It is a disease
that can affect production and its quality on dairies. This research group focuses
on the examination and development of new methods for controlling mastitis, especially
mastitis caused by Staphylococcus aureus
DNA "fingerprinting" helps researchers trace this pathogen from
reservoir to fomite to host. Following one organism along this path will allow
better understanding of the epidemiology of the disease, and will enable development of
Other research includes a project designed to examine the role S.
exotoxins have as superantigens in mastitis, and their affects on milk
quality. Additionally, studies on the epidemiology of Mycoplasma and Streptococcal
mastitis have been initiated.
Specific Research Areas
- Control of S. aureus mastitis in heifers.
- Control of S. aureus mastitis in cows through the maintenance of healthy teat
- Exotoxins in milk: affects on milk quality and mammary immunity.
- Use of fingerprint technology to evaluate fomites and reservoirs of infection.
- Epidemiology of Mycoplasma (see below) and Streptococcus mastitis
MANAGEMENT AND REDUCTION OF MASTITIS
by Larry Fox)
is a contagious organism which causes mastitis in cattle. It
can cause complete cessation of milk production and the potential for no production during
the next lactation. The mastitis research group is searching for correlations
between infection with Mycoplasma
and with other contagious, opportunistic and
have been coined the "crabgrass" of organisms because
their infections are persistent, difficult to cure, and frequently difficult to detect and
diagnose. Top characteristics of Mycoplasma
- Fastidious organism
- No cell wall
- Fried egg appearance
- Unsuccessful treatment
- Most cases appear to be in the US
- Most cases appear to be sub-clinical (meaning no visible signs)
: In clinical cases we see abnormal, discolored (tannish
or brownish) secretions and sandy or flaky sediments in watery or serous fluids. Particles
usually sink to the bottom of the tube. Often the infections spread from one quarter to
the other quarter on the same side and then to the opposite quarters.
Segregation or culling of infected animals is recommended. In contrast to other
completely lacks a cell wall.
and other antibacterial substances that interfere with cell walls of organisms do not work
on Mycoplasma at all
. In theory, drugs that work on the ribosomal
complex should be effective (such as tetracycline and streptomycin, among others).
In practice, resistance and/or variable results have been reported (i.e. there really is
no way to treat it). Current Concepts in Bovine Mastitis
, put out by the National
Mastitis Council, offers more information.