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Elimination of experimentally induced bovine intramammary infection assessed by multiplex real-time PCR and bacterial culture

Hiitiö, Heidi, Pyörälä, Satu, Taponen, Suvi, Rajala-Schultz, Päivi, Simojoki, Heli
Journal of dairy science 2018 v.101 no.6 pp. 5267-5276
DNA, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus simulans, bacteria, bacterial culture, dairy cows, inflammation, mastitis, milk, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, somatic cell count
Diagnosis of bovine intramammary infection (IMI) has traditionally been based on bacterial culture, but currently IMI can also be detected with DNA based methods, such as multiplex real-time PCR. The aim of this study was to describe the elimination of bacteria in experimentally induced IMI on the quarter level, using conventional bacterial culture (BC) and multiplex real-time PCR. Two coagulase-negative staphylococcal species, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus simulans, were experimentally inoculated into 14 healthy quarters of 8 dairy cows during 4 consecutive study periods. Intramammary infections were followed with 20 milk samplings per each quarter. Milk somatic cell count was monitored to evaluate the inflammation process in the quarters. Four quarters cured spontaneously during the study period according to the culture. The PCR detected staphylococcal DNA from these quarters for several days after they were defined as cured in BC. Agreement between BC and PCR results varied from substantial to almost perfect agreement for the first 36 h postchallenge, decreasing to moderate levels toward the end of the sampling period. Based on this study, we recommend collecting possible follow-up samples to assess the bacteriological cure from IMI not until 2 to 3 wk after the onset of mastitis or after the quarter milk somatic cell count has normalized when PCR is used.