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IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- summer mastitis
International Common Names
- English: summer mastitis in cattle
OverviewTop of page
Summer mastitis is primarily a disease of dry cows and heifers in temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere that occurs mostly during the summer months (Madsen et al., 1992; Berry et al., 1998; Blowey and Edmondson, 2010).
Mixed cultures of various facultative anaerobic and obligate anaerobic bacteria are isolated from udder secretions of affected animals. These are most commonly:
- Trueperella (Arcanobacterium) pyogenes: this is the most frequent isolate and is the organism responsible for the severe necrosis and destruction of the quarter.
- Peptoniphilus (Peptococcus) indolicus: ferments milk and damaged tissue into organic acids and indole and is responsible for the characteristic foul smell.
- Streptococcus dysgalactiae: this may be the primary infection, allowing T. pyogenes to enter and/or proliferate in the mammary gland.
- Microaerophilic cocci: sometimes known as Stewart-Schwann cocci.
- Bacteroides melaninogenicus.
- Fusobacterium necrophorum.
The mode of infection and spread is not certain, but insects, especially biting ones such as Hydrotaea irritans, appear to play an important role in outbreaks of summer mastitis (Hillerton et al., 1990). The disease can be sporadic or involve a number of animals in the herd. The affected quarters of udders usually suffer extensive permanent damage (Hillerton, 1992; Pyorala, 2003) and summer mastitis can cause significant economic losses (Bertels, 1987; Nansen et al., 1987; Reichmuth, 1987; Seinhorst, 1987; Berry, 1998).
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Summer mastitis is primarily a disease of dry cows and heifers, but it can also occur in beef cows, calves and bulls (Berry, 1998). It is particularly common in some European cattle such as the Friesian/Holstein breeds (Hillerton, 1992).
DistributionTop of page
Summer mastitis is reported from all four continents where dairy cattle are herded. It is, however, most prevalent in northern Europe and particularly common in some European cattle such as the Friesian/Holstein breeds. It has been reported from Japan, parts of the USA, Australia, Greece, Zimbabwe and Brazil (Hillerton, 1992; Berry, 1998).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Japan||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Hokkaido||Present||Sarashina et al., 1991|
|USA||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-California||Present||Lean et al., 1987|
|Denmark||Present||Madsen et al., 1991; Madsen et al., 1992|
|Germany||Present||Lemmermöhle et al., 1988; Liebisch et al., 1994|
|Netherlands||Present||Sol et al., 1987; Vecht et al., 1988|
|Poland||Present||Malinowski and Smulski, 2007|
|Sweden||Present||Jonsson et al., 1991|
|UK||Present||Teale et al., 1990; Bouman and Booth, 1992; Berry and Booth, 1999|
|Australia||Present||Slee and McOrist, 1985|
DiagnosisTop of page
Diagnosis is based upon finding of a swollen and oedematous quarter(s) with a characteristic foul discharge. Behavioural changes in the animal may become apparent; the affected animal often stands alone away from the herd, is dull and inappetent. On examination the temperature is often high. Infection develops rapidly after the initial recognizable signs so confirmation of summer mastitis by bacteriology is rarely quick enough. Obvious signs do not occur in every case. When a blind quarter is discovered after calving, these animals may have had a mild infection without showing any significant clinical signs (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed||Sign|
|General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia||Sign|
|General Signs / Generalized weakness, paresis, paralysis||Sign|
|General Signs / Mammary gland swelling, mass, hypertrophy udder, gynecomastia||Sign|
|General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift||Sign|
|General Signs / Weight loss||Sign|
|Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless||Sign|
|Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain mammary gland, udder||Sign|
|Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production||Sign|
|Reproductive Signs / Edema of mammary gland, udder||Sign|
|Reproductive Signs / Firm mammary gland, hard udder||Sign|
|Reproductive Signs / Mastitis, abnormal milk||Sign|
|Reproductive Signs / Warm mammary gland, hot, heat, udder||Sign|
Disease CourseTop of page
The classic symptoms of summer mastitis are a hot, hard and swollen quarter, usually with a tense and enlarged teat. The quarter is painful and the secretion is thick and clotted, with a characteristic foul smell (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010). Infections are more common in the front quarters, which flies can reach more easily (Berry, 1998).
More severely affected cows have a raised temperature, are often lame because of the painful quarter and may develop swollen hocks. Pregnant animals may abort, and others give birth to a full-term but retarded and weakly calf. Neglected cases may die, especially if dry cows and pregnant heifers do not receive as much attention as they should (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010).
EpidemiologyTop of page
Summer mastitis occurs most commonly in heifers and dry cows, generally at pasture (Berry, 1998; Pyorala, 2003). It can also occur in beef cows, calves and bulls (Berry, 1998). In Europe, summer mastitis occurs predominantly from the end of June to September (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010). Isolation rates of summer mastitis pathogens are highest in July-August, corresponding to the seasonal activity of symbovine insects thought to play a role in transmission, in particular the headfly Hydrotaea irritans (Madsen et al., 1992). Chirico et al. (1997) demonstrated that H.irritans flies are capable of transmitting summer mastitis pathogens to recipient heifers. These flies live in bushes and trees, and can only fly during mild, damp humid conditions and when wind speeds are low.
However, infection can also occur outside the fly season and in areas where the H. irritans, or another suitable vector, does not occur – often in association with teat-end damage (Berry, 1998; Blowey and Edmondson, 2010).
It has been suggested that the first case of summer mastitis may occur spontaneously, possibly by infection tracking in from infected teat sores, and subsequent cases are caused by flies spreading the infection (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010). It may be that another factor, simultaneous with the presence of the fly, is required to damage the teat end: for example, thorns, nettles, thistles or long grass, another type of fly, or even cattle licking themselves excessively (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010).
There is an increased prevalence of summer mastitis with age and this continues to a maximum for the dry cow period between the fifth and sixth lactations (Hillerton et al., 1987). The lower incidence in older cows may be due to these animals being less susceptible to summer mastitis.
Impact: EconomicTop of page
Summer mastitis represents a major cost to the dairy industry in countries where the disease is prevalent (Bertels, 1987; Nansen et al., 1987; Reichmuth, 1987; Seinhorst, 1987; Berry, 1998). In the UK, it is estimated that approximately 20,000 animals are affected each year (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010).
Disease TreatmentTop of page
The two main organisms causing summer mastitis (T. pyogenes and S. dysgalactiae) are sensitive to penicillin, and hence penicillin and its derivatives are the antibiotics of choice for treatment (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010). However, very few quarters ever recover.
Intramammary treatment of summer mastitis is not efficient as it has no effect in a hard, pus filled quarter. For the same reason, administering oxytocin is ineffective and not recommended for a pregnant cow (Pyorala, 2003).
With acute summer mastitis, prompt parenteral (injectable) antibiotic therapy is essential, and can be combined with NSAIDs approved for use in cattle to alleviate pain and inflammatory signs (Pyorala, 2003; Blowey and Edmondson, 2010). This will reduce the chances of abortion and death. Antibiotics need to be continued for 4 to 5 days, or until the animal’s temperature has returned to normal. If summer mastitis does not have systemic signs, antibiotic treatment is not necessary as it does not improve the prognosis of the quarter (Pyorala, 2003).
If possible, the infected teat should be stripped very regularly, especially during the first 2 to 3 days. This may then reduce the chances of an abscess bursting through the side of the udder (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010).
The teat end of the affected quarter is sometimes amputated and left open to facilitate drainage of the thick secretion; this measure often immediately relieves the systemic signs (Pyorala, 2003). Even if the teat is not opened, the affected animal should be removed from the rest of the group to avoid spreading infection to other cows (Blowey and Edmondson, 2010).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Preventive measures for summer mastitis include fly control; dry cow therapy; pasture management, including cutting plants which can result in abrasions on teats; maintaining cows in clean and dry calving areas; drying up affected quarters to reduce the risk of spreading infection to other cows; and removing affected cows from the herd (Wright, 1983; Berry, 1998).
ReferencesTop of page
Berry E, 1998. Update on summer mastitis. British Mastitis Conference 1998., 46-53; 17 ref.
Bertels G, 1987. Summer mastitis in Belgium. Geographical distribution and economic loss. In: Summer mastitis. A workshop held at the Central Veterinary Institute, Lelystad, The Netherlands, 23-24 October, 1986 [ed. by G. Thomas\others]. 3300 AD Dordrecht, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers for the Commission of the European Communities, 208-212.
Blowey R; Edmondson P, 2010. Summer mastitis. In: Mastitis control in dairy herds, Ed. 2 [ed. by Blowey, R.\Edmondson, P.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI, 215-219. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20103163433
Hillerton JE, 1992. Summer mastitis. Bovine medicine: diseases and husbandry [ed. by Andrews, A. H.\Blowey, R. W.\Boyd, H.\Eddy, R. G. (Editors)]. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientific Publications Ltd, 301-304.
Lemmermöhle G; Lindfeld A; Liebisch A, 1988. Reduction of summer mastitis in cattle by controlling pasture flies. (Reduzierung der Sommermastitis bei Rindern durch Fliegenbekämpfung auf der Weide.) In: Symposium "Weideparasitosen". Bad Zwischenahn, 17. und 18 September 1987. Kurzfassung der Vorträge. Giessen/Lahn, Germany: Deutsche Veterinärmedizinische Gesellschaft e.V., 76-91.
Liebisch G; Dorn H; Liebisch A, 1994. Control of flies and summer mastitis in grazing cattle by use of Bayofly Pour on (cyfluthrin). In: Proceedings 18th World Buiatrics Congress: 26th Congress of the Italian Association of Buiatrics, Bologna, Italy, August 29-September 2, 1994. Volume 1 [ed. by Trenti, F.]. Bologna, Italy: Società Italiana di Buiatria, 765-768.
Madsen M; HOi SOrensen G; Nielsen SA, 1991. Studies on the possible role of cattle nuisance flies, especially Hydrotaea irritans, in the transmission of summer mastitis in Denmark. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 5(4):421-429; 37 ref.
Madsen M; SOrensen GH; Aalbaek B; Hansen JW; BjOrn H, 1992. Summer mastitis in heifers: studies on the seasonal occurrence of Actinomyces pyogenes, Peptostreptococcus indolicus and Bacteroidaceae in clinically healthy cattle in Denmark. Veterinary Microbiology, 30(2-3):243-255; 36 ref.
Malinowski E; Smulski S, 2007. Prevalence and prophylaxis of intramammary infections and mastitis in pregnant heifers. (Wystepowanie i profilaktyka zakazen i zapalen gruczo
Nansen P; Hansen JW; Oestergaard V, 1987. Economic losses associated with summer mastitis in pregnant and non-pregnant heifers. In: Summer mastitis. A workshop held at the Central Veterinary Institute, Lelystad, The Netherlands, 23-24 October, 1986 [ed. by G. Thomas\others]. 3300 AD Dordrecht, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers for the Commission of the European Communities, 203-207.
Pyorala S, 2003. Treatment of mastitis caused by Arcanobacterium pyogenes. In: The North American Veterinary Conference 2003, Large Animal. Orlando, Florida, USA, 18-22 January, 2003. Gainesville, USA: The North American Veterinary Conference, 75. http://www.tnavc.org
Reichmuth J, 1987. Economic and ergonomic implications of summer mastitis. In: Summer mastitis. A workshop held at the Central Veterinary Institute, Lelystad, The Netherlands, 23-24 October, 1986 [ed. by G. Thomas\others]. 3300 AD Dordrecht, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers for the Commission of the European Communities, 195-198.
Røn I, 1987. Ear tags impregnated with insecticide [fenvalerate] used to prevent summer mastitis of cows in Norway. (Oremerker med insektmiddel til bruk mot sommermastitt hos sinkyr og kviger i Norge.) Norsk Veterinaertidsskrift, 99(6):443-447.
Sarashina T; Yonemichi H; Seno N, 1991. Summer mastitis in Hokkaido: clinical, bacteriological and pathological findings in spontaneous cases. Research Bulletin of Obihiro University, I, 17(2):109-115.
Seinhorst JW, 1987. Consequences of summer mastitis on dairy farm productivity. In: Summer mastitis. A workshop held at the Central Veterinary Institute, Lelystad, The Netherlands, 23-24 October, 1986 [ed. by G. Thomas\others]. 3300 AD Dordrecht, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers for the Commission of the European Communities, 199-202.
Sol J; Vecht U; Seinhorst JW, 1987. The epidemiology of summer mastitis in the Netherlands. In: Summer mastitis. A workshop held at the Central Veterinary Institute, Lelystad, The Netherlands, 23-24 October, 1986 [ed. by Thomas, G.\et al.]. 3300 AD Dordrecht, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers for the Commission of the European Communities, 23-29.
Vecht U; Wisselink HJ; Sol J, 1988. First isolation of the Stuart-Schwan coccus in the Netherlands. (Eerste isolatie van Stuart-Schwan cocci in Nederland.) Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde, 113(3):156-157.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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