Intramammary infections of mammary glands in unbred heifers: Absolute and differential somatic cell counts

Veterinarni Medicina 44, 1999, 199-203

Lavages from 204 mammary glands of 52 unbred heifers, crosses of Holstein and Bohemian Red Pied breeds, were examined. Attempts to obtain lavages from 4 mammary glands (1.9%) of two animals were unsuccessful owing to occlusion of teat canals. The results of bacteriological examination were negative in 163 (78.4%) glands. Minor pathogens, mostly coagulase-negative staphylococci, were demonstrated in 34 (16.3%) glands. Five glands (2.4%) were infected by environmental pathogens. Two glands (1%) were infected by contagious agents. Absolute somatic cell counts in lavages, standardized to a volume of 20 ml, for the above 4 categories were (0.966, 2.138, 3.267, and 3.138). 10(6)/ml, respectively. Macrophages predominated in differential somatic cell counts both in the noninfected (66.6%) and in the infected (62.2%) glands. The counts of polymorphonuclear leukocytes were higher in the infected than in the noninfected glands (14.2 vs. 4.5%). On the other hand, lymphocyte counts were higher in the noninfected than in the infected glands (26.5 vs. 13.2%). The juvenile mammary gland of unbred heifers is a suitable object for health tests in heifers before their incorporation into breeding. Catheterisation and lavage of mammary gland sinuses yield suitable means for sampling for both bacteriological and cytological examinations

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