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Dairy goat farming is an important sector of the agricultural industry in Greece, with an annual total milk production exceeding 450 000 l and accounting for over 25% of all goat milk produced in the European Union; this milk is used mainly for cheese production. Despite the importance of goat milk for the agricultural sector in Greece, no systematic countrywide investigations in the bulk-tank milk of goats in Greece have been reported. Objectives were to investigate somatic cell counts (SCC) and total bacterial counts (TBC) in raw bulk-tank milk of goat herds in Greece, study factors influencing SCC and TBC therein and evaluate their possible associations with milk content. Throughout Greece, 119 dairy goat herds were visited for milk sampling for somatic cell counting, microbiological examination and composition measurement. Geometric mean SCC and TBC were 0.838 × 106 cells ml−1 and 581 × 103 cfu ml−1, respectively. Multivariable analyses revealed annual frequency of check-ups of milking system and total milk quantity per goat (among 53 variables) to be significant for increased SCC; no factor emerged (among 58 variables) to be significant for increased TBC. Negative correlation of SCC with total protein was found; mean total protein content in the bulk-tank milk in herds with SCC >0.75 × 106 cells ml−1 was 5.1% lower and in herds with SCC >1.5 × 106 cells ml−1, it was 7.8% lower.
The objective was to describe the physicochemical changes during the early phase of subclinical mastitis and to associate them with pathological findings. A Mannheimia haemolytica strain was deposited into one teat duct of 25 ewes and the clinical, bacteriological, cytological, physicochemical (pH, milk composition), gross-pathological and histological findings were subsequently recorded. The organism was consistently isolated from samples of teat duct material (140/150) but not from mammary secretion (50/150). California Mastitis Test (CMT) scores increased (>1) and remained high (143/150 samples) after challenge; polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) predominated in milk films, but the proportion of lymphocytes and macrophages progressively increased. Increased pH values (>7·0) were recorded in the mammary secretion from the challenged side. Furthermore, content of fat, total proteins and lactose therein decreased markedly. Histological changes (leucocytic infiltration, destruction of epithelial cells) were observed in the mammary parenchyma of the ewes. The present results confirm that the reduction of milk constituents is the effect of cellular damage and can occur soon after infection.
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