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Extensive countrywide field investigation of subclinical mastitis in sheep in Greece

Vasileiou, N.G.C., Cripps, P.J., Ioannidi, K.S., Chatzopoulos, D.C., Gougoulis, D.A., Sarrou, S., Orfanou, D.C., Politis, A.P., Gonzalez-Valerio, T. Calvo, Argyros, S., Mavrogianni, V.S., Petinaki, E., Fthenakis, G.C.
Journal of dairy science 2018 v.101 no.8 pp. 7297-7310
Staphylococcus aureus, anti-infective agents, dipping, etiological agents, ewes, farms, flocks, lactation, mastitis, milk, models, teats, Greece
The objectives of this work were (1) to investigate prevalence of subclinical mastitis, (2) to identify etiological agents involved, and (3) to study factors potentially predisposing ewes to subclinical mastitis. Milk samples were collected from 2,198 ewes in 111 farms with a total population of 35,925 ewes, in all 13 administrative regions of Greece, for bacteriological and cytological examination. Prevalence of subclinical mastitis was 0.260. Main etiological agents were staphylococci (Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative species), which accounted for 0.699 of all isolates recovered; prevalence of staphylococcal mastitis was 0.191. In a multivariable mixed-effects analysis, the primary factor found to be associated with increased prevalence of subclinical mastitis was the management system practiced in flocks (flocks under a semi-intensive system had the highest prevalence). Other factors that were included in the multivariable model were the stage of lactation period (ewes in the 2nd month postpartum showed the highest prevalence) and application of postmilking teat dipping. In contrast, measures taken at the end of a lactation period (e.g., intramammary administration of antimicrobial agents) were not found to have an effect on prevalence of subclinical mastitis. The results confirmed the significance of subclinical mastitis as a frequent problem of ewes, with staphylococci as the primary etiological agent. The findings confirm the multifactorial nature of subclinical mastitis and indicate that its control should rely on many approaches.