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Evaluation of the association between fecal excretion of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis and detection in colostrum and on teat skin surfaces of dairy cows

Patrick Pithua BVM, PHD1, Scott J. Wells DVM, PHD, DACVPM2, and Sandra M. Godden DVM, DVSc3
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the association between fecal excretion of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP) by dairy cows in the periparturient period and detection of MAP DNA in colostrum specimens and on teat skin surfaces.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—112 Holstein cows.

Procedures—Fecal specimens were collected within 48 to 72 hours prior to parturition, and colostrum and teat swab specimens were collected immediately after parturition. Detection of MAP in fecal specimens was performed via microbial culture, and detection of MAP DNA in colostrum and teat swab specimens was achieved via a PCR assay targeting the genetic element ISMAP02. Logistic regression was used to model the relationship between MAP fecal shedding status and detection of MAP DNA in colostrum or teat swab specimens. Population attributable fractions for the proportion of colostrum and teat swab specimens containing MAP DNA were also calculated.

Results—The odds of detecting MAP DNA in colostrum or teat swab specimens in cows with MAP-positive (vs negative) fecal specimens were 2.02 and 1.87 respectively. Population attributable fractions estimates suggested that withholding colostrum from MAP-positive cows could reduce the odds of exposing calves to MAP in colostrum by 18.2%. Not permitting natural suckling by calves could reduce the odds of exposing calves to MAP on the teat surfaces of MAP-positive cows by 19.5%.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results underscored the need for strict adherence to practices that limit contact of calves with adult cows from the time of birth and promote hygienic colostrum handling to avoid possible contamination with MAP during colostrum harvest, storage, or feeding.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the association between fecal excretion of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP) by dairy cows in the periparturient period and detection of MAP DNA in colostrum specimens and on teat skin surfaces.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—112 Holstein cows.

Procedures—Fecal specimens were collected within 48 to 72 hours prior to parturition, and colostrum and teat swab specimens were collected immediately after parturition. Detection of MAP in fecal specimens was performed via microbial culture, and detection of MAP DNA in colostrum and teat swab specimens was achieved via a PCR assay targeting the genetic element ISMAP02. Logistic regression was used to model the relationship between MAP fecal shedding status and detection of MAP DNA in colostrum or teat swab specimens. Population attributable fractions for the proportion of colostrum and teat swab specimens containing MAP DNA were also calculated.

Results—The odds of detecting MAP DNA in colostrum or teat swab specimens in cows with MAP-positive (vs negative) fecal specimens were 2.02 and 1.87 respectively. Population attributable fractions estimates suggested that withholding colostrum from MAP-positive cows could reduce the odds of exposing calves to MAP in colostrum by 18.2%. Not permitting natural suckling by calves could reduce the odds of exposing calves to MAP on the teat surfaces of MAP-positive cows by 19.5%.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results underscored the need for strict adherence to practices that limit contact of calves with adult cows from the time of birth and promote hygienic colostrum handling to avoid possible contamination with MAP during colostrum harvest, storage, or feeding.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Pithua's present address is the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

Supported by the Competitive Grants Program of the USDA-Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service National Research Initiative (No. 1716–669–6295).

Address correspondence to Dr. Pithua (pithuap@missouri.edu).