Variations in the susceptibility of lactating and non-lactating bovine udders to infection when infused with Escherichia coli

J Dairy Res. 1976 Jun;43(2):205-11. doi: 10.1017/s0022029900015752.


Small numbers of Escherichia coli were infused into both lactating and non-lactating udders. Twelve of the 17 lactating quarters infused became infected, and all 12 showed clinical symptoms of udder disease. The 5 lactating quarters which did not become infected all had pre-infusion somatic cell counts greater than 300000 cells/ml milk, whilst all the quarters which became infected had cell counts less than 300000 cells/ml milk. E. coli was subsequently recovered from only 6 of the 16 non-lactating quarters infused. In only 2 of these quarters did clinical infection follow, both quarters being in a cow infused 2 d before calving. The remaining 4 quarters from which E. coli was recovered were all negative within 5 d of infusion. These differences in susceptibility are discussed, particularly with reference to the frequent occurrence of coliform mastitis at and shortly after calving.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Count
  • Escherichia coli Infections / etiology*
  • Female
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Lactation*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / anatomy & histology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / microbiology*
  • Mastitis, Bovine / etiology*
  • Milk / cytology
  • Milk / microbiology
  • Pregnancy