Objective—To evaluate seasonal patterns and risk factors for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in feces in a beef cattle herd and determine strain diversity and transition in E coli over time by use of multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
Sample Population—456 samples of freshly passed feces collected over a 1-year period from cattle in a range-based cow-calf operation located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.
Procedures—E coli O157:H7 was recovered from feces by use of immunomagnetic separation and 2 selective media. Virulence factors were detected via reverse transcriptase-PCR assay. Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates were subtyped with MLVA and PFGE. Prevalence estimates were calculated and significant risk factors determined. A dendrogram was constructed on the basis of results of MLVA typing.
Results—Overall prevalence estimate for E coli O157:H7 was 10.5%, with the prevalence lowest during the winter. Mean temperature during the 30 days before collection of samples was significantly associated with prevalence of E coli O157:H7 in feces. Nineteen MLVA and 12 PFGE types were identified.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A seasonal pattern was detected for prevalence of E coli O157:H7 in feces collected from beef cattle in California. Subtyping via MLVA and PFGE revealed a diversity of E coli O157:H7 strains in a cow-calf operation and noteworthy turnover of predominant types. Given the importance of accurately determining sources of contamination in investigations of disease outbreaks in humans, MLVA combined with PFGE should be powerful tools for epidemiologists. (Am J Vet Res 2010;71:1339–1347)
Objective—To assess changes in body weight, carcass quality, and fecal pathogen shedding in cull dairy cows fed a high-energy ration for 28 or 56 days prior to slaughter.
Design—Randomized clinical trial.
Animals—31 adult Holstein dairy cows.
Procedures—Cows were randomly assigned to a control (immediate slaughter) group or a 28-day or 56-day feeding group. Cows in the feeding groups received a high-energy feed and were weighed every 7 days. Carcasses were evaluated by USDA employees. Fecal and blood samples were collected at the start and end of the feeding periods.
Results—Body condition score and adjusted preliminary yield grade were significantly increased in both feeding groups, compared with values for the control group; body weight, hot carcass weight, dressing percentage, and ribeye area were significantly increased after 56 days, but not after 28 days, compared with values for the control group. Average daily gain and marbling score were significantly lower after feeding for 28 days versus after 56 days. Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 shedding in feces decreased from 14% to 5.6%, but this difference was not significant. Cows seropositive for antibodies against bovine leukemia virus that had signs of lymphoma and lame cows had a low average daily gain. Net loss was $71.32/cow and $112.80/cow for the 28-day and 56-day feeding groups, respectively.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Feeding market dairy cows improved body condition and carcass quality. Cows seropositive for antibodies against bovine leukemia virus that have signs of lymphoma and lame cows might be poor candidates for reconditioning.