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Differences in susceptibility to Mannheimia haemolytica-associated mastitis between two breeds of dairy sheep

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2007

Ilectra A Fragkou
Veterinary Faculty, University of Thessaly, PO Box 199, 43100 Karditsa, Greece
John Skoufos
Department of Animal Production, TEI Epirus, PO Box 110, 47100 Arta, Greece
Peter J Cripps
Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Neston, South Wirral, CH64 7TE, UK
Ilias Kyriazakis
Veterinary Faculty, University of Thessaly, PO Box 199, 43100 Karditsa, Greece
Nikos Papaioannou
School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece
Costas M Boscos
School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece
Athina Tzora
Department of Animal Production, TEI Epirus, PO Box 110, 47100 Arta, Greece
George C Fthenakis*
Veterinary Faculty, University of Thessaly, PO Box 199, 43100 Karditsa, Greece
*For correspondence; e-mail:


We used a Mannheimia haemolytica isolate to study differences in susceptibility to experimental mastitis between two breeds of dairy sheep. The isolate was deposited into the teat duct of Karagouniko (K, n=8) or Frisarta (F, n=8) ewes. The animals were monitored by means of clinical, bacteriological, cytological and pathological methods. K ewes did not develop any systemic or mammary clinical signs, whilst F ewes became ill and developed acute clinical mastitis 12 h later (P<0·001). Bacteria were isolated from 34/48 samples from K ewes and from 46/46 samples from F ewes. Positive California mastitis test (CMT) results were 17/24 samples from K ewes and 23/23 samples from F ewes; leucocytes were seen in Giemsa-stained films. Total pathology score summed over all group K ewes was 41 (maximum possible: 128); Man. haemolytica was isolated from 12/24 tissue samples. Total pathology score summed over all group F ewes was 93; Man. haemolytica was isolated from 24/24 tissue samples. Hyperplastic lymphoid nodules consisting of lymphocytes and plasma cells with germinal activity were characteristically present at the border between teat duct–teat cistern of group K ewes; no such structures were observed in teats of group F ewes. The results identified differences in susceptibility/resistance to a mastitis pathogen among animals of the two breeds. Defence mechanisms of the teat appeared to be inadequate against the invading organisms; as lymphoid nodules have been considered important defensive mechanisms of the ovine teat, their observed lack in Frisarta ewes might have predisposed them to development of mastitis.

Research Article
Copyright © Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research 2007

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