Persistent experimental Salmonella dublin intramammary infection in dairy cows

S J Spier, B P Smith, J S Cullor, H J Olander, L D Roden, G W Dilling
Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 1991, 5 (6): 341-50
Experimental intramammary infections were induced in five post-parturient Holstein cows by inoculation of low numbers (5000 colony forming units) of virulent Salmonella dublin via the teat canal of mammary gland quarters. Rectal temperature, pulse and respiratory rates, milk yield, and milk quality as assessed by the California Mastitis Test (CMT) and somatic cell counts (SCC) were recorded every 12 hours at milking. Bacteriologic cultures of foremilk quarter samples and feces were obtained daily, as were complete blood counts. ELISA titers for IgG and IgM recognizing S. dublin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were obtained weekly on serum and quarter milk samples. All cows excreted S. dublin intermittently from infected quarters, but no changes were detected in rectal temperature, appearance of the mammary gland or secretions, CBC, milk yield, and pulse and respiratory rates. Somatic cell counts were modestly increased in infected quarters as compared with uninfected quarters (P = .015, paired t test); however, CMT scores after infection remained low, and were not significantly different from pre-infection scores (P greater than .10, sign test). After infection, administration of dexamethasone resulted in signs of clinical mastitis and increased excretion of S. dublin from mammary quarters (P = .0004, paired t test). One cow had necrotizing mastitis and S. dublin septicemia and was euthanatized. In the four surviving cows, clinical improvement was observed after systemic gentamicin therapy and intramammary infusion with polymyxin B, but all cows continued to excrete S. dublin intermittently from one or more quarters and occasionally from feces for the remaining period of observation. All infected cows demonstrated a rise in IgG and IgM ELISA titers recognizing S. dublin LPS in serum and milk. At necropsy (13-25 weeks postinfection), S. dublin was recovered only from the mammary tissue or supramammary lymph nodes in three of four cows. In one cow, mammary gland and lymph-node samples were negative for S. dublin despite positive milk cultures. In all cows, histopathologic examination revealed multifocal areas of chronic active mastitis. These lesions were similar to histopathologic findings from mammary gland carriers with naturally acquired S. dublin infection.

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