Efficacy of extended pirlimycin therapy for treatment of experimentally induced Streptococcus uberis intramammary infections in lactating dairy cattle

Stephen P Oliver, Raul A Almeida, Barbara E Gillespie, Susan J Ivey, Hugh Moorehead, Phillip Lunn, Henry H Dowlen, David L Johnson, Ken C Lamar
Veterinary Therapeutics: Research in Applied Veterinary Medicine 2003, 4 (3): 299-308
Streptococcus uberis is an important cause of mastitis in dairy cows throughout the world, particularly during the dry period, around the time of calving, and during early lactation. Strategies for controlling S. uberis mastitis have not received adequate research attention and are therefore poorly defined and inadequate. Objectives of the present study were to evaluate the efficacy of extended therapy regimens with pirlimycin for treatment of experimentally induced S. uberis intramammary infections in lactating dairy cows during early lactation and to evaluate the usefulness of the S. uberis experimental infection model for evaluating antimicrobial efficacy in dairy cows. The efficacy of extended pirlimycin intramammary therapy regimens was investigated in 103 mammary glands of 68 dairy cows that became infected following experimental challenge with S. uberis during early lactation. Cows infected with S. uberis in one or both experimentally challenged mammary glands were randomly allocated to three groups, representing three different treatment regimens with pirlimycin, including 2-day (n = 21 cows, 31 mammary quarters), 5-day (n = 21 cows, 32 quarters), and 8-day (n = 26 cows, 40 quarters). For all groups, pirlimycin was administered at a rate of 50 mg of pirlimycin hydrochloride via intramammary infusion. A cure was defined as an experimentally infected mammary gland that was treated with pirlimycin and was bacteriologically negative for the presence of S. uberis at 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after treatment. Experimental S. uberis intramammary infections were eliminated in 58.1% of the infected quarters treated with the pirlimycin 2-day regimen, 68.8% for the 5-day regimen, and 80.0% for the 8-day regimen. Significant differences (P <.05) in efficacy were observed between the 2-day and 8-day treatment regimens. The number of somatic cells in milk decreased significantly following therapy in quarters for which treatment was successful in eliminating S. uberis. However, there was no evidence to suggest that extended therapy with pirlimycin resulted in a greater reduction in somatic cell counts in milk than the 2-day treatment. The S. uberis experimental infection model was a rapid and effective means of evaluating antimicrobial efficacy during early lactation at a time when mammary glands are highly susceptible to S. uberis intramammary infection.

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