The teats of quarters which were milked, and those in which milking had ceased, of 16 cows were exposed to bacteria twice daily for 2 weeks by dipping them in a suspension of streptococci and staphylococci.
Of 32 quarters in which milking had ceased 22 became infected in this period. Eighteen infections were with Streptococcus dysgalactiae, 2 with Streptococcus uberis, 1 with Staphylococcus aureus and 2 with organisms not used in the culture. Only 3 of 32 milked quarters became infected in the experimental period: 2 infections were with Str. aureus and 1 with an organism not used in the culture. Animals differed in their susceptibility to infection.
Quarters which had been unmilked for 2 weeks were as susceptible to new infectionas those in which milking had just ceased.
In this experiment, factors such as intramammary pressure, leakage of milk, concentration of bacterial inhibitors, composition of secretion and cell counts of the secretion did not appear to influence the rate of infection. Yield at drying-off, milking rates and teat patency were not related to the differences in susceptibility between animals. It is suggested that the main reason for the lower new infection rate in the milked quarters is that pathogens entering the streak canal or teat sinus are usually flushed out with the secretion during milking and do not cause infection.