Mastitis Causing Pathogens within the Dairy Cattle Environment

Ayuba Caleb Kudi, M. P. Bray, Aziwo. T. Niba, Demo. J.U. Kalla


The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between bacterial numbers found within the bedding material
and those found upon the teats in cattle herds bedded on three different bedding materials; sand, sawdust and straw. The
bacteria to be studied are known to be responsible for the development of mastitis within the mammary glands resulting
in reduced milk quality and poor welfare conditions for the animal. Samples for the analysis were collected under
natural housing conditions from the bedding and from the teats of a representative sample of each herd. These were then
plated to isolate numbers of the environmental bacteria, Streptococcus uberis and Escherichia coli (E. coli), and to
conduct a total viable count for comparison. Statistical analysis showed that six of the nine relationships tested resulted
in a P<0.05. The microbial test results also showed that the straw bedding hosted the lowest total number of bacteria at
8.5 x 10. When compared with the incidence of mastitis infections within the herd, the straw bedding had a
considerably higher number of infections than from the sand or sawdust with thirty-one cases recorded. In conclusion,
minimising pathogen growth within the bedding material, results in lower numbers of pathogens being transmitted onto
the cow's teats thereby reducing the possibility of intrammamary infections. It is recommended that further work is
carried out through repeating the study on a larger number of farms to identify whether the relationship between the
bacterial numbers exists on further farms. In addition to this, it is also recommended that further analysis of the
pathogens responsible for the mastitis within the herds be undertaken to identify if the environmental pathogens are
responsible for these intrammamary infections.

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International Journal of Biology   ISSN 1916-9671(Print)   ISSN 1916-968X  (Online)   Email:

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