Associations between subclinical paratuberculosis and milk production, milk components, and somatic cell counts in dairy herds

Kenneth V. Nordlund From the Departments of Medical Sciences (Nordlund, Goodger, Pelletier) and Pathobiological Sciences (Collins), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015 Linden Dr W, Madison, WI 53706.

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William J. Goodger From the Departments of Medical Sciences (Nordlund, Goodger, Pelletier) and Pathobiological Sciences (Collins), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015 Linden Dr W, Madison, WI 53706.

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Joseph Pelletier From the Departments of Medical Sciences (Nordlund, Goodger, Pelletier) and Pathobiological Sciences (Collins), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015 Linden Dr W, Madison, WI 53706.

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Michael T. Collins From the Departments of Medical Sciences (Nordlund, Goodger, Pelletier) and Pathobiological Sciences (Collins), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015 Linden Dr W, Madison, WI 53706.

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Objective

To determine associations between subclinical Mycobacterium paratuberculosis infection and milk production, milk components, and somatic cell counts of dairy cattle.

Design

Cross-sectional epidemiologic survey.

Animals

23 dairy herds in Wisconsin containing 1,653 adult cows were studied. The herds had above average milk production and a history of bovine paratuberculosis in the herd within the previous 12 months.

Procedure

All adult cows in the herds were tested for paratuberculosis by use of an absorbed ELISA. Milk yield, fat, protein, and somatic cell count data were retrieved electronically from Dairy Herd Improvement Association records.

Results

147 ELISA-positive and 1,506 ELISA-negative cows were identified. ELISA-positive cows had a mature-equivalent milk production of 376 kg (829 lb)/lactation less than that for ELISA-negative herdmates. Significant difference was not found in lactation average percentages of fat and protein, or somatic cell count linear score. When comparing ELISA-positive and -negative cow's current mature equivalent milk with all previous lactations, significant difference was found only from the immediate-preceding lactation. When this difference was examined by parity group, significant difference was confined to cows in the second lactation.

Clinical Implications

Subclinical paratuberculosis infections, as determined by ELISA, are associated with a 4% reduction in milk yield and add to the already substantial costs of clinical M paratuberculosis infection in the dairy industry. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1872-1876)

Objective

To determine associations between subclinical Mycobacterium paratuberculosis infection and milk production, milk components, and somatic cell counts of dairy cattle.

Design

Cross-sectional epidemiologic survey.

Animals

23 dairy herds in Wisconsin containing 1,653 adult cows were studied. The herds had above average milk production and a history of bovine paratuberculosis in the herd within the previous 12 months.

Procedure

All adult cows in the herds were tested for paratuberculosis by use of an absorbed ELISA. Milk yield, fat, protein, and somatic cell count data were retrieved electronically from Dairy Herd Improvement Association records.

Results

147 ELISA-positive and 1,506 ELISA-negative cows were identified. ELISA-positive cows had a mature-equivalent milk production of 376 kg (829 lb)/lactation less than that for ELISA-negative herdmates. Significant difference was not found in lactation average percentages of fat and protein, or somatic cell count linear score. When comparing ELISA-positive and -negative cow's current mature equivalent milk with all previous lactations, significant difference was found only from the immediate-preceding lactation. When this difference was examined by parity group, significant difference was confined to cows in the second lactation.

Clinical Implications

Subclinical paratuberculosis infections, as determined by ELISA, are associated with a 4% reduction in milk yield and add to the already substantial costs of clinical M paratuberculosis infection in the dairy industry. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1872-1876)

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