Buffalo Bulletin Vol.26 No.2 (June 2007) p. 50-55

 

 

 

CROSS-SECTIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES ON MASTITIS IN CATTLE AND BUFFALOES OF TEHSIL GOJRA, PAKISTAN

 

 

M.A. Chishty, M. Arshad, M. Avais*, S. Hameed and M. Ijaz

 

Department of Microbiology University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

Mastitis is recognized worldwide as the most important and costly disease of dairy animals. Field surveys of major livestock diseases in Pakistan have indicated that it is one of the most important health hazards in the country. Keeping in view the importance of this costly disease the present study has been designed. A total of 639 animals (n=370 buffaloes n=269 cattle) of 300 randomly selected livestock farmers were screened to find out the epidemiology of clinical and sub-clinical mastitis in the study area.  The overall prevalence of mastitis (clinical + sub-clinical) was found to be 47.58% in cattle and 60.27% in buffaloes. The prevalence of clinical mastitis in cattle was reported to be 16.72% while in buffaloes the prevalence of clinical mastitis was 21.08%.

 

Key words: mastitis, prevalence, cattle, buffalo, clinical

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

            Mastitis is recognized worldwide as the most important and costly disease of dairy animals (Lightner et al., 1998). Field surveys of major livestock diseases in Pakistan have indicated that it is one of the most important health hazard in the country (Ajmal, 1990).Owing to transmissibility of such animal diseases as tuberculosis, leptospiroses, brucellosis etc, through milk to human being, the disease is also important from zoonosis standpoint.

            Mastitis is a multifactorial disease-complex resulting from a pathogen-host-environment interaction. The local information on the epidemiological dimensions of mastitis in Pakistan is extremely inadequate. This information is imperative for planning an intervention strategy for this costly dairy disease.

            Mastitis is caused by interaction of various factors associated with the host, pathogens and the environment, so the nature and duration of the disease varies accordingly. Infectious agents like bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae are mostly the primary cause of the disease. Other determinants of the disease are age, stage of lactation and managerial condition. It is well established that infection always takes place via the teat canal (Faul et al., 1985).

            All immunization procedures developed   against the disease have remained unsuccessful due to multiple etiological agents. The misuse of antibiotics at low levels over long periods may cause therapeutic failure and the development of drug resistant (uni-or multi-resistant) strains of staphylococci and other bacteria.

It is well established that disease complexes like mastitis can be controlled when their epidemiology is known. Very little information is available on mastitis in Pakistan. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the epidemiological aspects of bovine and bubline mastitis in Tehsil Gojra, Pakistan, to determine the frequency, distribution and risk factors of mastitis in dairy cattle and buffaloes. It was anticipated that information thus obtained might play a pivotal role in the control of mastitis.

 

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

 

Experimental design:

This cross-sectional epidemiological study on clinical and subclinical mastitis was carried out in lactating cattle and buffaloes in Tehsil Gojra, district T.T. Singh, Pakistan.

 

Epidemiology of clinical and subclinical mastitis:

A total of 639 animals (n=370 buffaloes n=269 cattle) of 300 randomly selected livestock farmers were screened to find out the epidemiology of clinical and sub-clinical mastitis in the study area. Clinical mastitis was diagnosed when there were visible or palpable signs of udder inflammation along with the changes in milk secretions whereas subclinical mastitis was diagnosed by using the Surf Field Mastitis Test (SFMT) (Muhammad et al., 1995). A comprehensive questionnaire focused on data related to cattle and buffaloes, host and managerial determinants/risk factors associated with mastitis was completed in the presence of each livestock farmer whose animal was selected for the present study.

 

Analysis of data:

Relative risk:

Relative risk was calculated to determine the strength of association between factors and disease. It was calculated as the ratio between the rate of disease in the exposed group and the rate of disease in the unexposed group (Thrusfield, 1995).

 

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

 

Prevalence of Mastitis in Cattle and Buffalos:

In the present study the over all prevalence of mastitis (clinical + sub-clinical) was found   47.58% in cattle and 60.27% in buffaloes.

The prevalence of clinical mastitis in cattle was reported to be 16.72% while in buffaloes the prevalence of clinical mastitis was 21.08%. Bilal et. al. (2004) recorded 25.12% prevalence of clinical mastitis in buffaloes of peri-urban areas of Faisalabad, which is harmonious with the results of present study. These findings are in close alignment with the findings of Nooruddin et. al. (1997) who reported 21.2% prevalence of clinical mastitis in cattle in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The prevalence of sub-clinical mastitis was also found higher in buffaloes 39.1% than in cattle 30.8%. Dangore et al. (2000) reported 35.55% prevalence of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows, which is in accordance with the findings of present study. Quarter-based prevalences of clinical mastitis in cattle and buffaloes were also determined. It was higher in buffaloes than in cattle. In cattle it was 5.01% and in buffaloes it was 8.71%. Quarter-based prevalence of sub-clinical mastitis in buffaloes by SFMT was higher than in cattle. It was 13.16% and 14.66% in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. The findings of present study are in close agreement with the findings of Allore. (1993) who reported 16.96% to 93% quarter-wise prevalence of subclinical mastitis in cows and 4% to 47.5% in buffaloes.

When the prevalence of clinical mastitis in relation to anatomical location of quarters was determined, it was found that prevalence was higher in fore quarters than in rear quarters in cattle and it was higher in rear quarters than in fore quarters in buffaloes. Prevalence was 1.96%, 2.30%, 2.09% and 2.39% in the left-fore, left-rear, right-fore and right-rear quarters, respectively, in cattle. In buffaloes, the prevalence was 1.39%, 1.21%, 1.30% and 1.11% in the left fore, left rear, right fore and right rear quarters, respectively. When the prevalence of sub-clinical mastitis in relation to anatomical location of quarters was determined, it was found that prevalence was higher in fore quarters than in rear quarters in cattle and it was higher in rear quarters than in fore quarters in buffaloes. Prevalence was 3.66%, 3.06%, 3.56% and 2.87% in left-fore, left-rear, right-fore and right-rear quarters, respectively in cattle. In buffaloes the prevalence was 3.45%, 3.75%, 3.53%, and 3.90% in left-fore, left-rear, right-fore and right-rear quarters, respectively. Shukla et. al. (1997) reported that forequarters were more affected than hind quarters in the case of cows where in buffaloes hind quarters had higher prevalence of mastitis than forequarters, which supported the findings of present study. Similar findings were observed by Bilal et. al. (2004) and Premchand et. al. (1995) who reported a higher prevalence of mastitis in hind quarters of buffaloes than in fore quarters. 

Prevalence of blind quarters was higher in buffaloes than in cattle. It was 1.11% and 1.41% in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. When the prevalence of blind quarters in relation to anatomical location of quarters was determined, it was found that prevalence was higher in fore quarters than in rear quarters in cattle and it was higher in rear quarters than in fore quarters in buffaloes. Prevalence was 0.46%, 0.19%, 0.27% and 0.19% in left fore, left rear, right fore and right rear quarters, respectively in cattle. In buffaloes the prevalence was 0.20%, 0.47%, 0.27% and 0.47% in left fore, left rear, right fore and right rear quarters, respectively. The slightly higher prevalence of blind quarters in buffaloes might be due to the high incidence of clinical mastitis in buffaloes as advanced untreated cases of mastitis could lead to teat blindness. The findings of the present study do not correlate with the findings of Ahmad et al. (1991) who reported 7.19% blind teats in cattle and buffaloes. 

Quarter specific prevalence of clinical mastitis was also determined. In cattle, there were 45 clinically mastitic animals; 34 (12.63%) animals were found with one quarter affected, nine (3.34%) animals with two quarters affected, two (0.74%) animals with three quarters affected and no animal was found with four quarters affected. In buffaloes, there were 78 clinically mastitic animals; 59 (15.94%) animals were found with one quarter affected, 14(3.79%) animals with two quarters affected, five animals ((1.35%) animals with three quarters affected and no animal was found with four quarters affected.

The prevalence of clinical mastitis in cattle and buffaloes by age was also determined. The highest prevalences, 28.33% and 34.42% were reported in the 12 years or above age group of cattle and buffaloes, respectively. The prevalences found in cattle in the 10-11 year, 8-9 year, 6-7 year and 4-5 year age groups were 18.96%, 16.27%, 15.09% and 3.63%. In buffaloes of same age groups were 24.32%, 22.35%, 21.51% and 4.22%, respectively. The exposure rate therefore increased with the age of the cattle and buffaloes. The gradual increase in prevalence of clinical mastitis in both species may be due to immunosuppression in old animals. The findings of present study are in close agreement with the findings of Rasool et. al. (1985) who observed an increased prevalence of mastitis in older animals.

As to lactation number, the prevalences of clinical mastitis in cattle were 6.66%, 10.52%, 16.58%, 19.04%, 21.27% and 25.00% at lactation number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, respectively. Whereas the prevalences in buffaloes at lactation number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, the prevalences were 9.83%, 11.94% , 17.3%, 22.22%, 32.14% and 37.03%, respectively. As milk production is parallel to advanced lactation number and often predisposes the udder to mastitis (Stableforth and Galloway, 1959). The findings of the present study are also congruent with the findings of Rasool et. al. (1985), Al-Shawabkeh and Abdul Aziz (1987), Premchand et. al. (1995) who reported that prevalence of mastitis increases with increasing lactation number. 

The prevalence of clinical mastitis with request to pregnancy was also studied. The stages of pregnancy was divided into four classes. The prevalence were highest, 43.66% and 55.31%, in non-pregnant but lactating cattle and buffaloes, respectively. This was followed by 8.82% and 11.95% prevalence in cattle and buffaloes of 7 months and above pregnancy, respectively. The prevalences of clinical mastitis in cattle and buffaloes of 1-3 months and 4-6 months pregnancy were 10.0%, 13.41%, 3.75% and 3.92%, respectively. This difference in the prevalence of mastitis at different stages of pregnancy may be attributed to hormonal changes.

The prevalence of clinical mastitis in cattle and buffaloes with respect to stage of lactation was also studied. The stage of lactation was divided into four classes.  The prevalence in cattle was 8.16%, 13.75%, 18.98%, and 24.59% at lactation stages 1-2 months, 3-4 months, 5-6 months and 7 months and above, respectively. In buffaloes, the lactation stage wise prevalences of clinical mastitis were 12.12%, 15.47%, 24.07% and 32.18% in 1-2 months, 3-4 months, 5-6 months and 7 months and above stage of lactation, respectively. An overall increasing trend in prevalence of mastitis was observed with the advancement of stage of lactation. The results of present study are supported by Rasool et. al. (1985) who reported that rate of occurrence of mastitis was higher during advanced stages of lactation than early stages.

Dry period length was also considered, since it might influence the susceptibility of cattle and buffaloes to clinical mastitis. The prevalence of clinical mastitis in cattle with 1-month, 2-month, 3-month and 4-month dry period lengths were 26.15%, 18.03%, 12.16% and 11.59%, respectively. In the case of buffaloes having 1-month, 2-month, 3-month and 4-month dry period lengths, the prevalences of clinical mastitis were 32.14%, 23.59%, 14.58% and 15.84%. It was observed that the prevalence of clinical mastitis decreased as dry period length increased.  These findings are in complete alignment with the findings of Enevoldsen and Sorensen. (1972) who reported decreased prevalence of mastitis in animals with increased dry period.

The prevalence of clinical mastitis in relation to ease of milking was also determined. Hard-milking cattle and buffaloes had higher prevalences of clinical mastitis, 23.45% and 25.87%, respectively. Easy-milking cattle and buffaloes had lower prevalences of clinical mastitis, 13.82% and 18.06%, respectively. Relative risk in cattle and buffaloes was 1.7 and 1.4, respectively. The high prevalence of clinical mastitis in hard milkers might be due to excessive pressure during milking contributing towards trauma to the mammary tissue. This hard milking might be due to constriction of teat sphincter as a result of teat injury.

As to milk let down stimulus, the highest prevalences 33.01% and 47.50%, were in cattle and buffaloe respectively with calf suckling as the milk let down stimulus. The prevalences of clinical mastitis in cattle and buffaloes fed on concentrate were 2.85% and 4.54%, respectively whereas the prevalences in cattle and buffaloes in which oxytocine was used as the milk let down stimulus were 8.33% and 23.23%, respectively. Cattle and buffaloes with manual milk let down stimulus had prevalences of 8.77% and 8.33%, respectively. The findings of the present study are congruent with the findings of Socci and Redaelli. (1973) who reported that suckling calves are the source of transmission of mastitogens. These findings are also supported by Prabharkar et al. (1990) who isolated mastitis causing bacteria from the pharynx of suckling calves. One more reason for the high prevalence of mastitis in animals with suckling calves could be the injury inflicted while dragging away the calf during suckling, which is a common practice.

The prevalence of clinical mastitis in cattle and buffaloes as related to by milking technique was also observed, and the cattle and buffaloes milked by the folded thumb technique had the highest prevalences, 63.63% and 47.61%, followed by whole hand milked cattle and buffaloes, 14.72% and 19.48 %, respectively. The relative risk was found to be 4.3 and 2.4 in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. Again, this high prevalence of clinical mastitis in cattle and buffaloes milked by folded thumb might be due to trauma inflicted by folded thumbs. The findings of the present study correlate with the findings of Ahmad. (1980) who pointed out that the folded thumb technique of milking predisposed the animals to high incidence of mastitis. In using the folded thumb, the teat cistern becomes injured, which predisposes the teat to infection.

Furthermore the cattle and buffaloes having teat injury had higher prevalences, 23.89% and 31.21%, than cattle and buffaloes without teat injury, 11.53% and 12.18%, respectively. The relative risk was found to be 2.0 and 2.5 in cattle and buffaloes respectively. Teat injury predisposes the teat and udder to infection, and this might be the reason for higher prevalence of mastitis in injured teats. These findings of the present study are supported by the finding of various workers like Geer et al. (1988), Heeschen. (1988) and Pyorala et al. (1992).

The prevalence of clinical mastitis in relation to type of housing was also determined. The highest prevalences were found in backyard housing, 40.00% and 53.77%  in cattle and buffaloes, respectively followed by street housing and open area type housing. The prevalences were 8.82% and 9.09% in street housed cattle and buffaloes respectively. The prevalence in open area type housing was 8.24% and 6.99% in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. In the present study it was observed that the prevalence was high in backyard housed animals than in animals kept in streets and open areas. This might be due to the highly contaminated environment in backyard areas. Similar findings were observed by Ewbank. (1996) who reported high prevalence of mastitis in a herd of housed cattle. The findings of the present study are also in alignment with the findings of Carro. (1977), Hogan et al. (1989) and Pyorola et al. (1992) who observed high incidence of mastitis during the time animals were housed compared with the pasture time.  Loose-housed cows with soft bedding had lower incidences of mastitis.

When the prevalence of clinical mastitis in relation to type of floor was determined, it was observed that prevalences on brick floor were highest, 36.53% and 41.53% in cattle and buffaloes, respectively whereas the prevalences on kaccha floor were the lowest, 10.34% and 15.00% in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. On cement floors the prevalences were 35.71 % and 36.00% in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. The high prevalences of mastitis in animals housed on brick and cement floors could be due constant sitting and standing behaviour of animals on hard surfaces which may lead to teat injury/trauma. These findings are supported by Ahmad. (1980) who reported that buffaloes kept on brick floors had a higher prevalence of mastitis (21.96%) than those on Kaccha floors (15.06%).

Condition of floor was also found to be a risk factor of clinical mastitis in cattle and buffaloes. The prevalence on uneven floors was higher, 21.05% and 26.34%  in cattle and buffaloes, respectively, than on even floors, 15.02%  and 16.74%  in cattle and buffaloes, respectively. Relative risk were found to be 1.4 and 1.5 respectively. The uneven surface of the floor could result in udder trauma/injury while sitting on uneven surfaces uncomfortably leads to uneven distribution of pressure on various body parts. These observations correlate with the findings of Heeschen. (1988) who observed that injured compressed teats are more prone to mastitis.    

The prevalence of clinical mastitis in relation to drainage system was also studied. With poor drainage systems the prevalences were found to be highest, 41.86% and 42.42% in cattle and buffaloes, respectively, followed by acceptable and proper drainage systems. With acceptable drainage system, the prevalences were 14.17% and 14.76%  in cattle and buffaloes, respectively, whereas the prevalences with proper drainage systems were 8.69%  and 8.82%  in cattle and buffaloes, respectively.

 

 

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