Effects of Udder and Teat Morphology, Parity and Lactation Stage on Subclinical Mastitis in Holstein Cows


Abstract: The relationships of udder and teat morphology, parity, and lactation stage with subclinical mastitis were investigated in cows raised in herds registered with the Izmir Holstein Breeders Association. Data from 887 cows in 21 herds were used. The udder and teat morphology of the cows was scored. Detection of subclinical mastitis was performed by a hand-held device measuring the electrical conductivity of the milk. It was found that 55.9% of cows had trough-shaped udders, 25.9% had ball-shaped udders, 11.5% had rear-heavy udders, and 6.7% had pendulous udders. Teats were cylindrical in 73.3%, funnel-shaped in 18.8%, pear-shaped in 3.2%, and long and thick in 4.7% of cows. Teats were located squarely in 54.1% of cows, and rear teats were closer to each other compared with the front teats in 45.9%. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, udder and teat morphology, parity, and herd were found to affect significantly (P < 0.001) the probability of subclinical mastitis. The effects of teat placement and stage of lactation were not significant. Cows with trough-shaped udders had the lowest risk of subclinical mastitis, and cows with pendulous udders had the highest risk. When teat morphology was considered, the risk of subclinical mastitis was highest for cows with long and thick teats. The risk of subclinical mastitis for cows with funnel-shaped teats was found to be lower than for cows with cylindrical teats. The risk of subclinical mastitis was found to increase as parity rose.

Keywords: Subclinical mastitis, udder and teat morphology, parity, lactation stage

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