Is the incidence of clinical mastitis associated with changes of weekly average dry matter intake in lactating dairy cows?



mastitis, DMI, cow


The aim of this cross-sectional study was to test whether there is an association between clinical mastitis incidence and variations in dry matter intake in lactating dairy cows. Data were collected and analyzed from two voluntarily participating dairy herds (1,000 -1,200 cows) between 2017 and 2018. Lactating cows were assigned to seven “effective” husbandry groups (HGeff), considering important performance parameters such as lactation number, lactation day, reproductive status, and health status. The average daily dry matter intake of a cow in a husbandry group was determined once a week. Dry matter was determined using dehydration equipment that dried the fresh masses of the total mixed ration (TMR) in a standardized way. The incidence of clinical mastitis was calculated for different aetiological groups (environment associated mastitis pathogens, cow-associated mastitis pathogens, NAS (non-aureus staphylococci) and no growth cases). Dry matter intake (DMI) per individual cow was calculated as the averaged value plus the associated standard deviation (DMI (sd)) from weekly examinations of each husbandry group (HGeff). The average dry matter intake per cow per day was 23.6 kg +/- 3.7 kg. Environment associated pathogens were found in about half of all clinical mastitis cases (49.4 %). Cow-associated pathogens were found in 4.8 % of clinical mastitis
cases. In all models, the different clinical incidences of mastitis studied were significantly associated with HGeff. In most cases, the incident rates were significantly higher in the fresh milking and high milking groups compared to the other groups. The incidence of clinical non severe mastitis cases (only mild and moderate cases) caused by environment associated microorganisms was further associated with variation in dry matter intake, with higher variation related to higher clinical mastitis incidence. Further studies are needed to verify this association.


Shulin L, Chaoqun W, Wenchao P, Jian-Xin L, Hui-Zeng S. Predicting Daily Dry Matter Intake Using Feed Intake of First Two Hours after Feeding in Mid and Late Lactation Dairy Cows with Fed Ration Three Times Per Day. Animals 2021; 11: 104.

Becker V, Stamer E, Thaller G. Liability to diseases and their relation to dry matter intake and energy balance in German Holstein and Fleckvieh dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 2021; 104(1), 628–643.

Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Feed intake- Importance of dry matter intake. 2014.

Roche JR, Friggens NC, Kay JK, Fisher MW, StaffordKJ, Berry DP. Invited review: Body condition score and its association with dairy cow productivity, health, and welfare. J Dairy Sci. 2009; 10(3168):2009-2431.

Gross JJ, Bruckmaier RM. The 17th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals: Editorial. J Anim Sci. 2020; 98(Suppl 1):S1-S3.

Grummer RR, Mashek DG, Hayirli A. Dry matter intake and energy balance in the transition period. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract. 2004 Nov; 20(3):447-70.

Geiger AJ, Parsons CLM, Akers RM. Feeding a higher plane of nutrition and providing exogenous estrogen increases mammary gland development in Holstein heifer calves. J Dairy Sci. 2016; 99(9):7642-7653.

Grant RJ, Ferraretto LF. Silage review: Silage feeding management: Silage characteristics and dairy cow feeding behavior. J Dairy Sci. 2018; 101(5):4111-4121.

Kok A, Chen J, Kemp B, van Knegsel ATM. Review: Dry period length in dairy cows and consequences for metabolism and welfare and customised management strategies. Animal. 2019 Jul; 13(S1):42-51.

DeVries TJ, Keyserlingk MAG. Feed Stalls Affect the Social and Feeding Behavior of Lactating Dairy Cows. J Dairy Sci. 2006; 89(9):3522-3531.

Barkema HW, Schukken YH, Lam TJ, Beiboer ML, Benedictus G, Brand A. Management practices associated with the incidence rate of clinical mastitis. J Dairy Sci. 1999 Aug;82(8):1643-54.

De Vliegher S, Fox LK, .Piepers S, McDougall S, Barkema HW. Invited review: Mastitis in dairy heifers: Nature of the disease, potential impact, prevention, and control. Invited review: Mastitis in dairy heifers: Nature of the disease, potential impact, prevention, and control. J Dairy Sci. 2012; 95(3):1025-1040.

Zoche V, Heuwieser W, Krömker V. Risk-based monitoring of udder health. A review. Tierarztl Prax Ausg G Grosstiere Nutztiere. 2011; 39(2):88-94.

Schären M, Seyfang GM, Steingass H, et al. The effects of a ration change from a total mixed ration to pasture on rumen fermentation, volatile fatty acid absorption characteristics, and morphology of dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 2016;99(5):3549-3565.

Lukas JM, Reneau JK, Linn JG. Water intake and dry matter intake changes as a feeding management tool and indicator of health and estrus status in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 2008 Sep; 91(9):3385-94.

Erickson PS, Kalscheur KF. Nutrition and feeding of dairy cattle. Animal Agriculture. 2020 : 157–180.

Connor EE. Invited review: improving feed efficiency in dairy production: challenges and possibilities. Animal. 2015;9(3):395-408.

Sundrum A. Metabolic Disorders in the Transition Period Indicate that the Dairy Cows’ Ability to Adapt is Overstressed. Animals. 2015; 5(4): 978–1020.

Thompson-Crispi K, Atalla H, Miglior F, Mallard BA. Bovine Mastitis: Frontiers in Immunogenetics. Front Immunol. 2014; 5: 493.

Coon RE, Duffield TF, DeVries TJ. Effect of straw particle size on the behavior, health, and production of early-lactation dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 2018; 101(10):6375–6387.

International Dairy Federation (IDF). Suggested interpretation of mastitis terminology. Bulletin of the IDF. 1999; 338, Brussels.

Heeschen W, Reichmuth J, Tolle A, Zeidler H. The preservation of milk samples for bacteriological, cytological and inhibitory biological examination. Milchwissenschaft. 1969; 24, 729–734.

German Veterinary Association (GVA). Guidelines for taking milk samples under antiseptic conditions and isolation and identification of mastitis pathogens. 2nd ed.; Verlag der Deutschen Veterinärmedizinischen Gesellschaft e.V., 2009. Gießen

Brennecke J, Falkenberg U, Wente N, Krömker V. Are Severe Mastitis Cases in Dairy Cows Associated with Bacteremia? Animals. 2021;11(2):410.

Schmenger A, Krömker V. Characterization, Cure Rates and Associated Risks of Clinical Mastitis in Northern Germany. Vet Sci. 2020;7(4):170.

Krattenmacher N, Thaller G, Tetens J. Analysis of the genetic architecture of energy balance and its major determinants dry matter intake and energy-corrected milk yield in primiparous Holstein cows. J Dairy Sci. 2019 Apr;102(4):3241-3253.

Esposito G, Irons PC, Webb EC, Chapwanya A. Interactions between negative energy balance, metabolic diseases, uterine health and immune response in transition dairy cows. Anim Reprod Sci. 2014;144(3-4):60-71.

Bünemann K, Von Soosten D, Frahm J, Kersten S, Meyer U, Hummel J, Zeyner A, Dänicke S. Effects of Body Condition and Concentrate Proportion of the Ration on Mobilization of Fat Depots and Energetic Condition in Dairy Cows during Early Lactation Based on Ultrasonic Measurements. Animals (Basel). 2019 Mar 29;9(4):131.

Méndez MN, Chilibroste P, Aguerre M. Pasture dry matter intake per cow in intensive dairy production systems: effects of grazing and feeding management. Animal. 2020 Apr;14(4):846-853.

Havekes CD, Duffield TF, Carpenter AJ, DeVries TJ. Moisture content of high-straw dry cow diets affects intake, health, and performance of transition dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 2020;103(2):1500-1515.

Arroyo JM, Hosseini A, Zhou Z, et al. Reticulo-rumen mass, epithelium gene expression, and systemic biomarkers of metabolism and inflammation in Holstein dairy cows fed a high-energy diet. J Dairy Sci. 2017;100(11):9352-9360.

Gumen A, Keskin A, Yilmazbas-Mecitoglu G, Karakaya E, Wiltbank M. Dry period management and optimization of post-partum reproductive management in dairy cattle. Reprod Domest Anim. 2011;46 Suppl 3:11-17.

Krömker V, Leimbach S. Mastitis treatment-Reduction in antibiotic usage in dairy cows. Reprod Domest Anim. 2017;52 Suppl 3:21-29.



2022-02-08 — Updated on 2022-02-15