Mastitis-induced ovarian abnormalities were studied in a field trial. At 1-3 day after calving, ≥2 parity cows not affected with chronic recurrent mastitis and yielding <400 000/ml somatic cell count (SCC) individual milk in the previous lactation, were enrolled in the study. Thereafter milk samples were collected three times weekly for 95-100 day for progesterone (P 4) assay. Individual P4 profiles were used to monitor ovarian cyclicity. When mastitis was diagnosed in the first 80 day post-partum (pp), clinical signs were recorded and scored, and aseptic milk samples were taken to identify the mastitis pathogens. Depending on the isolated pathogens the cows were blocked into one of the three sub-groups affected by either Gram-positive (GP), or Gram-negative (GN) bacteria, or of those with no detected pathogens (NDP). Cows suffering from any type of mastitis between days 15 and 28 (n = 27) showed a delay in the onset of ovarian cyclicity, and estrus was postponed compared to cows affected during the first 14 day pp (n = 59) and controls (n = 175) (38.6 ± 2.3 vs 33.4 ± 2.1 and 32.0 ± 1.0 day, respectively, for onset of ovarian cyclicity and 90.7 ± 2.5 vs 80.2 ± 2.8 and 83.9 ± 2.1 day, respectively, for estrus; both p < 0.05). The percentage of cows ovulating by day 28 was lower in those affected by mastitis between days 14 and 28 compared to cows between days 1 and 14 and controls (22.2% vs 47.5 and 50.3%, respectively; p < 0.05). A significantly higher rate of premature luteolysis was observed in GN + NDP compared to GP mastitis and healthy cows (46.7% vs 8.3 and 2.0%, respectively; p < 0.001). If the mastitis outbreak occurred during the follicular phase, the duration of this cycle segment was lengthened in GN + NDP mastitis compared to GP mastitis and healthy cows (10.8 ± 0.9 vs 7.9 ± 0.1 and 7.2 ± 0.1, respectively; p < 0.001). The results indicate that mastitis can affect the resumption of ovarian activity in pp dairy cows. Mastitis may also impair reproduction also in cyclic cows: this effect can be the consequence of premature luteolysis or a prolonged follicular phase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology