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Use of systemic disease signs to assess disease severity in dairy cows with acute coliform mastitis

John R. Wenz DVM, MS1,2, George M. Barrington DVM, PhD, DACVIM3,4, Franklyn B. Garry DVM, MS, DACVIM5, R. Page Dinsmore DVM, DABVP6, and Robert J. Callan DVM, PhD, DACVIM7
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 2 Present address is Copake Veterinary Hospital, PO Box 80, Copake Falls, NY 12517.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 4 Present address is the Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 7 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of systemic disease signs for classifying severity of acute coliform mastitis in dairy cows.

Design—Prospective cohort study.

Animals—144 dairy cows.

Procedure—Cows were examined at the time of initial identification of disease (time 0) and classified as having mild, moderate, or severe disease on the basis of rectal temperature, hydration status, rumen contraction rate, and attitude. A CBC and serum biochemical analyses were performed, and milk samples were submitted for bacterial culture at time 0 and 48 hours later.

Results—69 cows were classified as having mild disease, 44 as having moderate disease, and 31 as having severe disease. Median WBC and neutrophil counts were significantly lower in cows with moderate or severe disease at time 0 than in cows with mild disease. Band neutrophil count was significantly higher at 48 hours and serum calcium concentration was significantly lower at time 0 and at 48 hours in cows with severe or moderate disease, compared with cows with mild disease. Twenty-eight, 51, and 77% of cows with mild, moderate, and severe disease, respectively, had > 100,000 colony-forming units/ml of milk at time 0. The odds that a cow with severe disease would die or be culled were 3.6 times the odds for a cow with moderate disease and 11.2 times the odds for a cow with mild disease.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that a classification scheme based on readily observable systemic disease signs can be used to classify disease severity in cows with acute coliform mastitis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:567–572)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of systemic disease signs for classifying severity of acute coliform mastitis in dairy cows.

Design—Prospective cohort study.

Animals—144 dairy cows.

Procedure—Cows were examined at the time of initial identification of disease (time 0) and classified as having mild, moderate, or severe disease on the basis of rectal temperature, hydration status, rumen contraction rate, and attitude. A CBC and serum biochemical analyses were performed, and milk samples were submitted for bacterial culture at time 0 and 48 hours later.

Results—69 cows were classified as having mild disease, 44 as having moderate disease, and 31 as having severe disease. Median WBC and neutrophil counts were significantly lower in cows with moderate or severe disease at time 0 than in cows with mild disease. Band neutrophil count was significantly higher at 48 hours and serum calcium concentration was significantly lower at time 0 and at 48 hours in cows with severe or moderate disease, compared with cows with mild disease. Twenty-eight, 51, and 77% of cows with mild, moderate, and severe disease, respectively, had > 100,000 colony-forming units/ml of milk at time 0. The odds that a cow with severe disease would die or be culled were 3.6 times the odds for a cow with moderate disease and 11.2 times the odds for a cow with mild disease.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that a classification scheme based on readily observable systemic disease signs can be used to classify disease severity in cows with acute coliform mastitis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:567–572)