Submitted to: American Dairy Science Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 25, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Periparturient cows have a high incidence of intramammary infection (IMI) and clinical mastitis caused by coliform bacteria. Susceptibility has been associated with immunosuppression in periparturient cows, as well as environmental factors. Increased IMI rates have been correlated with an increased number of coliform bacteria in bedding and the bacterial burden in bedding has been associated with warmer weather and increased moisture. We were interested in whether changes in feed intake and increases in fecal coliform shedding occurred during periods of elevated IMI rates. To answer this question we measured fecal coliform shedding during the periparturient period in a two part study monitoring 12 multiparous Holstein cows. Fecal samples were obtained per rectal palpation 4 weeks prepartum through 2 wks postpartum, serially diluted and plated on MacConkey's agar. Samples were obtained approximately 3 days/wk and frequency increased as expected calving date approached. In all 12 cows, shedding of coliform bacteria in feces was low to undetectable 4 wks prior to parturition, yet near calving total fecal coliform numbers markedly increased by 10**5-10**8 cfu/g feces.