Acute Phase Response in Dairy Cows with Experimentally Induced Escherichia coli Mastitis

J. Hirvonen, K. Eklund, A. M. Teppo, G. Huszenicza, M. Kulcsar, H. Saloniemi, Satu Pyörälä

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Six Finnish Ayrshire cows were challenged intramammarily with 1500 CFU of Escherichia coli (E. coli) into single udder quarters, and the challenge was repeated into contracteral quarters 3 weeks later. All cows received flunixine meglumine once, and 3 of them were also treated with enrofloxacin. At the 2nd challenge, treatments were changed vice versa. The development of mastitis was followed by monitoring of systemic and local clinical signs, and with serial milk and serum samples. Intramammary challenge with E. coli produced clinical mastitis in all cows, the severity of the disease varying greatly between the animals. No significant changes between the 2 treatment regimens or sequent challenges were found for any of the clinical parameters. The response of each cow followed the same pattern after both challenges; three of the cows became mildly and the other 3 either moderately or severely affected. Two severely affected cows had to be euthanized because of severe mastitis. Serum haptoglobin and amyloid-A concentrations peaked 2-3 days after bacterial challenge. Serum haptoglobin did not correlate with the severity of the disease. Serum amyloid-A rose gradually in the severely affected cows, and significant differences were found between severely versus moderately or mildly affected cows at day 4. Serum tumor necrosis factor alpha concentrations increased only in the severely affected cows. Serum cortisol response was prolonged in the severely diseased animals, and was significantly lower after the second challenge. Serum nitrite/nitrate concentration increased in the severely affected cows. This indicated excess nitric oxide production during acute E. coli mastitis. Strongly decreased milk production, and high bacterial growth in the infected quarters were best predictors for the outcome from acute E coli mastitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalActa veterinaria Scandinavica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Acute phase proteins
  • Bovine
  • E. coli
  • Haptoglobin
  • Nitric oxide
  • Serum amyloid-A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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    Hirvonen, J., Eklund, K., Teppo, A. M., Huszenicza, G., Kulcsar, M., Saloniemi, H., & Pyörälä, S. (1999). Acute Phase Response in Dairy Cows with Experimentally Induced Escherichia coli Mastitis. Acta veterinaria Scandinavica, 40(1), 35-46.