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Cleanliness Scores as Indicator ofKlebsiellaExposure in Dairy Cows

Journal of Dairy Science
American Dairy Science Association
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2008-1090
  • Physiology And Management
  • Design


Abstract This study was designed to explore the relationship between cow and udder cleanliness scores and the risk of isolation of Klebsiella spp. from lower hind legs and teat ends, respectively. The distribution of Klebsiella species was compared among isolates from teat ends, legs, and cases of clinical mastitis obtained from 2 dairy farms in New York State, with 850 and 1,000 cows, respectively. Farms were visited twice approximately 4 wk apart in August and September 2007 to obtain cleanliness scores and swabs from legs and teats. Isolates of Klebsiella clinical mastitis from each farm were collected from July through October 2007. Two studies were conducted. In the first study, whole-cow cleanliness of a purposive sample of 200 lactating cows was scored using a 4-point scale, and swabs were taken from their lower hind legs. In the second study, udder cleanliness of a separate convenience sample of 199 lactating cows was scored in the milking parlor, and swabs were taken from their teat ends before and after premilking udder preparation. Prevalence of Klebsiella spp. on legs and teat ends before udder preparation was 59 and 60%, respectively. Logistic regression was used to explore the association between isolation of Klebsiella spp. and cleanliness scores. Cow cleanliness scores and udder cleanliness scores were not associated with detection of Klebsiella on legs and on teats before udder preparation, respectively. After udder preparation, 43% of previously Klebsiella positive teat end samples remained positive, with significant differences between farms and months. Teats from dirty udders were significantly more likely to test positive for Klebsiella after udder preparation than teats from clean udders. The proportion of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella oxytoca isolates was similar for isolates from teat end swabs and clinical mastitis cases, supporting the notion that the presence of Klebsiella on teat ends may lead to opportunistic intramammary infections. Udder cleanliness scores could be used as a management tool to monitor the risk of exposure to Klebsiella spp. on teat ends.

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