The use of high somatic cell count prevalence in ...

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Title The use of high somatic cell count prevalence in epidemiologic investigations of mastitis control practices
Author(s) W. D. Hueston, Lawrence E. Heider, W. R. Harvey, K. L. Smith
Journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Date 1987
Volume 4
Issue 5/6
Start page 447
End page 461
Abstract A series of least-squares analytical models were developed in a cross-sectional epidemiological study of the variability in within-herd high somatic cell count (SCC) prevalence, a measure of mastitis prevalence in dairy herds. The dependent variable, high SCC prevalence, was calculated as the 12-month rolling herd average percentage of lactating cows with milk SCC in excess of 283 000 cells/ml. The first analysis involved the results of a bacteriological survey of bulk-tank milk samples for the presence of Streptococcus agalactiae and coagulase-positive staphylococci. The presence of either pathogen in bulk-tank samples was associated with significantly higher high SCC prevalence. The second analysis involved responses to a questionnaire concerning management and mastitis control practices. Both post-milking teat dipping and dry-cow antibiotic therapy were associated with significantly lower high SCC prevalence: The third analysis combined the data collected for the first two analyses so that the independent variables included both bulk-tank bacteriological results and management and mastitis control practices. This model explained a greater proportion of the variability in high SCC prevalence than either of the other two models. There were three variables associated with significant decreases in high SCC prevalence the absence of S. agalactiae in the bulk tank milk, post-milking teat dipping and dry-cow antibiotic therapy of all cows. Milk somatic cell counting is now widely accepted and practiced in many countries, and individual-cow SCC data are available from large numbers of herds at little expense. By corroborating the role of post-milking teat dipping and dry-cow antibiotic therapy in mastitis control programme, this study establishes the usefulness of high SCC prevalence data for epidemiological studies of mastitis control practices..

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