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Response to somatic cell count-based selection for mastitis resistance in a divergent selection experiment in sheep

Rupp, Rachel and Bergonier, Dominique and Dion, Stéphane and Hygonenq, Marie-Claude and Aurel, Marie-Rose and Robert-Granié, Christèle and Foucras, Gilles Response to somatic cell count-based selection for mastitis resistance in a divergent selection experiment in sheep. (2009) Journal of Dairy Science, 9 (3). 1203-1219. ISSN 0022-0302

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2008-1435


A divergent selection experiment in sheep was implemented to study the consequences of log-transformed somatic cell score (SCS)-based selection on resistance to natural intramammary infections. Using dams and progeny-tested rams selected for extreme breeding values for SCS, we created 2 groups of ewes with a strong divergence in SCS of approximately 3 genetic standard deviations. A survey of 84 first-lactation ewes of both the High and Low SCS lines indicated favorable responses to SCS-based selection on resistance to both clinical and subclinical mastitis. All clinical cases (n = 5) occurred in the High SCS line. Additionally, the frequency of chronic clinical mastitis,as detected by the presence of parenchymal abscesses, was much greater in the High SCS line (n = 21) than in the Low SCS line (n = 1). According to monthly milk bacterio-logical examinations of udder halves, the prevalence of infection was significantly greater (odds ratio = 3.1) in the High SCS line than in the Low SCS line, with predicted probabilities of 37 and 16%, respectively. The most frequently isolated bacteria responsible for mastitis were staphylococci: Staphylococcus auricularis(42.6% of positive samples), Staphylococcus simulans, Staphylococcus haemoliticus, Staphylococcus xylosus, Staphylococcus chromogenes, Staphylococcus lentus, Staphylococcus warneri, and Staphylococcus aureus. The incidence of positive bacteriology was greater in the High SCS line (39%) than in the Low SCS line (12%)at lambing, indicating that High SCS line ewes were especially susceptible to postpartum subclinical mastitis. Negativation of bacteriological results from one sampling time point to the next was markedly different between lines after weaning (e.g., 41 and 84% in the High and Low SCS lines, respectively). This result was consistent with differences in the duration of infection, which was much greater in the High SCS line compared with the Low SCS line. Finally, ewes from the High SCS line consistently had greater SCS in positive milk samples than did ewes from the Low SCS line (+2.04 SCS, on average), with an especially large difference between lines during the suckling period (+3.42 SCS). Altogether, the preliminary results suggest that the better resistance of Low SCS line ewes, compared with High SCS line ewes, was principally characterized by a better ability to limit infections during the peripartum period, to eliminate infections during lactation, and quantitatively to limit the inflammation process and its clinical consequences.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to the American Dairy Science Association. The definitive version is available at http://www.journalofdairyscience.org/article/PIIS0022030209704291/fulltext
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
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Institution:Université de Toulouse > Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse - ENVT (FRANCE)
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Deposited On:20 May 2010 11:15

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