The Importance of Staphylococci and Threshold Value of Somatic Cell Count for Diagnosis of Sub-clinical Mastitis in Pirlak Sheep at Mid-lactation

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This study investigated the bacterial agents causing sub-clinical mastitis and the mean somatic cell counts (SCC) of milk in Pirlak sheep at mid-lactation. The percentage of infected udder halves was 11.4% (53/464). The most frequently isolated species were coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (64.2%), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (24.5%) and Escherichia coli (11.3%). Among the CNS, the most common species was Staphylococcus epidermidis (38.2%). The other species isolated from milk samples were Staphylococcus xylosus (17.7%), Staphylococcus chromogenes (14.7%), Staphylococcus simulans (8.8%) and Staphylococcus hyicus (8.8%). The mean SCC for culture positive and negative samples was 1742 × 103 and 161 × 103 cells/ml, respectively. A significant difference (p < 0.05) was determined between with and without microbial growth groups in terms of the SCC values. Threshold limit for SCC was 374 × 103 cells/ml for Pirlak sheep. In conclusion, it was considered that SCC is an important predictor of sub-clinical mastitis in Pirlak sheep. This is the first study to describe the bacterial agents causing sub-clinical mastitis and threshold limit for SCC in Pirlak sheep in Turkey.

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