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Open AccessArticle

Relationship of Late Lactation Milk Somatic Cell Count and Cathelicidin with Intramammary Infection in Small Ruminants

1
Porto Conte Ricerche, 07041 Alghero, Italy
2
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, Via Vienna 2, 07100 Sassari, Italy
3
Mediterranean Center for Disease Control, Via Vienna 2, 07100 Sassari, Italy
4
National Reference Center for Sheep and Goat Mastitis, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sardegna, Via Duca degli Abruzzi, 07100 Sassari, Italy
5
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milan, Via dell’Università 6, 26900 Lodi, Italy
6
Quality Milk Production Services, Cornell University, 240 Farrier Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally.
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010037
Received: 20 November 2019 / Revised: 21 December 2019 / Accepted: 28 December 2019 / Published: 1 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mastitis in Dairy Ruminants)
Late lactation is a critical moment for making mastitis management decisions, but in small ruminants the reliability of diagnostic tests is typically lower at this stage. We evaluated somatic cell counts (SCC) and cathelicidins (CATH) in late lactation sheep and goat milk for their relationship with intramammary infections (IMI), as diagnosed by bacteriological culture (BC). A total of 315 sheep and 223 goat half-udder milk samples collected in the last month of lactation were included in the study. IMI prevalence was 10.79% and 15.25%, respectively, and non-aureus staphylococci were the most common finding. Taking BC as a reference, the diagnostic performance of SCC and CATH was quite different in the two species. In sheep, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis produced a higher area under the curve (AUC) value for CATH than SCC (0.9041 versus 0.8829, respectively). Accordingly, CATH demonstrated a higher specificity than SCC (82.92% versus 73.67%, respectively) at comparable sensitivity (91.18%). Therefore, CATH showed a markedly superior diagnostic performance than SCC in late lactation sheep milk. In goats, AUC was <0.67 for both parameters, and CATH was less specific than SCC (61.90% versus 65.08%) at comparable sensitivity (64.71%). Therefore, both CATH and SCC performed poorly in late lactation goats. In conclusion, sheep can be screened for mastitis at the end of lactation, while goats should preferably be tested at peak lactation. In late lactation sheep, CATH should be preferred over SCC for its higher specificity, but careful cost/benefit evaluations will have to be made. View Full-Text
Keywords: subclinical mastitis; sheep; goat; late lactation; cathelicidin ELISA; somatic cell count; bacteriological culture subclinical mastitis; sheep; goat; late lactation; cathelicidin ELISA; somatic cell count; bacteriological culture
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Puggioni, G.M.G.; Tedde, V.; Uzzau, S.; Dore, S.; Liciardi, M.; Cannas, E.A.; Pollera, C.; Moroni, P.; Bronzo, V.; Addis, M.F. Relationship of Late Lactation Milk Somatic Cell Count and Cathelicidin with Intramammary Infection in Small Ruminants. Pathogens 2020, 9, 37.

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