Browsing by Subject "CATTLE"

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  • Kontturi, Miia; Junni, Reijo; Kujala-Wirth, Minna; Malinen, Erja; Seuna, Eija; Pelkonen, Sinikka; Soveri, Timo; Simojoki, Heli (2020)
    Several Finnish dairy herds have suffered from outbreaks of interdigital phlegmon (IP). In these new types of outbreaks, morbidity was high and clinical signs severe, resulting in substantial economic losses for affected farms. In our study, we visited 18 free stall dairy herds experiencing an outbreak of IP and 3 control herds without a similar outbreak. From a total of 203 sampled cows, 60 suffered from acute stage IP. We demonstrated that acute phase response of bovine IP was evident and therefore an appropriate analgesic should be administered in the treatment of affected animals. The response was most apparent in herds with high morbidity in IP and with a bacterial infection comprising Fusobacterium necrophorum and Dichelobacter nodosus, indicating that combination of these two bacterial species affect the severity of the disease.
  • Smaragdov, M. G.; Kudinov, A. A. (2020)
    Background Due to the advent of SNP array technology, a genome-wide analysis of genetic differences between populations and breeds has become possible at a previously unattainable level. The Wright's fixation index (F-st) and the principal component analysis (PCA) are widely used methods in animal genetics studies. In paper we compared the power of these methods, their complementing each other and which of them is the most powerful. Results Comparative analysis of the power Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and F-st were carried out to reveal genetic differences between herds of Holsteinized cows. Totally, 803 BovineSNP50 genotypes of cows from 13 herds were used in current study. Obtained F-st values were in the range of 0.002-0.012 (mean 0.0049) while for rare SNPs with MAF 0.0001-0.005 they were even smaller in the range of 0.001-0.01 (mean 0.0027). Genetic relatedness of the cows in the herds was the cause of such small F-st values. The contribution of rare alleles with MAF 0.0001-0.01 to the F-st values was much less than common alleles and this effect depends on linkage disequilibrium (LD). Despite of substantial change in the MAF spectrum and the number of SNPs we observed small effect size of LD - based pruning on F-st data. PCA analysis confirmed the mutual admixture and small genetic difference between herds. Moreover, PCA analysis of the herds based on the visualization the results of a single eigenvector cannot be used to significantly differentiate herds. Only summed eigenvectors should be used to realize full power of PCA to differentiate small between herds genetic difference. Finally, we presented evidences that the significance of F-st data far exceeds the significance of PCA data when these methods are used to reveal genetic differences between herds. Conclusions LD - based pruning had a small effect on findings of F-st and PCA analyzes. Therefore, for weakly structured populations the LD - based pruning is not effective. In addition, our results show that the significance of genetic differences between herds obtained by F-st analysis exceeds the values of PCA. Proposed, to differentiate herds or low structured populations we recommend primarily using the F-st approach and only then PCA.
  • Kontturi, Miia; Junni, Reijo; Simojoki, Heli; Malinen, Erja; Seuna, Eija; Klitgaard, Kirstine; Kujala-Wirth, Minna; Soveri, Timo; Pelkonen, Sinikka (2019)
    BackgroundSevere outbreaks of bovine interdigital phlegmon (IP) have occurred recently in several free stall dairy herds in Finland. We studied the aetiology of IP in such herds, and the association of bacterial species with the various stages of IP and herds of various morbidity of IP. Nineteen free stall dairy herds with IP outbreaks and three control herds were visited and bacteriological samples collected from cows suffering from IP (n=106), other hoof diseases (n=58), and control cows (n=64). The herds were divided into high morbidity (morbidity 50%) and moderate morbidity groups (9-33%) based on morbidity during the first two months of the outbreak.ResultsF. necrophorum subspecies necrophorum was clearly associated with IP in general, and T. pyogenes was associated with the healing stage of IP. Six other major hoof pathogens were detected; Dichelobacter nodosus, Porphyromonas levii, Prevotella melaninogenica, Treponema spp. and Trueperella pyogenes. Most of the samples of acute IP (66.7%) harboured both F. necrophorum and D. nodosus. We found differences between moderate morbidity and high morbidity herds. D. nodosus was more common in IP lesion in high than in moderate morbidity herds.ConclusionsOur result confirms that F. necrophorum subspecies necrophorum is the main pathogen in IP, but also T. pyogenes is associated with the healing stage of IP. Our results suggest that D. nodosus may play a role in the severity of the outbreak of IP, but further research is needed to establish other bacteriological factors behind these severe outbreaks.
  • Mantysaari, P.; Mantysaari, E. A.; Kokkonen, T.; Mehtio, T.; Kajava, S.; Grelet, C.; Lidauer, P.; Lidauer, M. H. (2019)
    The inclusion of feed intake and efficiency traits in dairy cow breeding goals can lead to increased risk of metabolic stress. An easy and inexpensive way to monitor postpartum energy status (ES) of cows is therefore needed. Cows' ES can be estimated by calculating the energy balance from energy intake and output and predicted by indicator traits such as change in body weight (Delta BW), change in body condition score (Delta BCS), milk fat:protein ratio (FPR), or milk fatty acid (FA) composition. In this study, we used blood plasma nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) concentration as a biomarker for ES. We determined associations between NEFA concentration and ES indicators and evaluated the usefulness of body and milk traits alone, or together, in predicting ES of the cow. Data were collected from 2 research herds during 2013 to 2016 and included 137 Nordic Red dairy cows, all of which had a first lactation and 59 of which also had a second lactation. The data included daily body weight, milk yield, and feed intake and monthly BCS. Plasma samples for NEFA were collected twice in lactation wk 2 and 3 and once in wk 20. Milk samples for analysis of fat, protein, lactose, and FA concentrations were taken on the blood sampling days. Plasma NEFA concentration was higher in lactation wk 2 and 3 than in wk 20 (0.56 +/- 0.30, 0.43 +/- 0.22, and 0.13 +/- 0.06 mmol/L, respectively; all means +/- standard deviation). Among individual indicators, C18:1 cis-9 and the sum of C18:1 in milk had the highest correlations (r = 0.73) with NEFA. Seven multiple linear regression models for NEFA prediction were developed using stepwise selection. Of the models that included milk traits (other than milk FA) as well as body traits, the best fit was achieved by a model with milk yield, FPR, Delta BW, Delta BCS, FPR x Delta BW, and days in milk. The model resulted in a cross-validation coefficient of determination (R(2)cv) of 0.51 and a root mean squared error (RMSE) of 0.196 mmol/L. When only milk FA concentrations were considered in the model, NEFA prediction was more accurate using measurements from evening milk than from morning milk (R(2)cv = 0.61 vs. 0.53). The best model with milk traits contained FPR, C10:0, C14:0, C18:1 cis-9, C18:1 cis-9 x C14:0, and days in milk (R(2)cv = 0.62; RMSE = 0.177 mmol/L). The most advanced model using both milk and body traits gave a slightly better fit than the model with only milk traits (R(2)cv = 0.63; RMSE = 0.176 mmol/L). Our findings indicate that ES of cows in early lactation can be monitored with moderately high accuracy by routine milk measurements.
  • Vähänikkilä, N.; Pohjanvirta, T.; Haapala, V.; Simojoki, H.; Soveri, T.; Browning, G. F.; Pelkonen, S.; Wawegama, N. K.; Autio, T. (2019)
    Mycoplasma bovis causes bovine respiratory disease, mastitis, arthritis and otitis. The importance of M. bovis has escalated because of recent outbreaks and introductions into countries previously free of M. bovis. We characterized the course of M. bovis infection on 19 recently infected dairy farms over 24 months. Our objective was to identify diagnostic tools to assess the efficacy of control measures to assess low risk infection status on M. bovis infected farms. PCR assays and culture were used to detect M. bovis, and in-house and BioX ELISAs were used to follow antibody responses. Cows and young stock were sampled on four separate occasions, and clinical cases were sampled when they arose. On 17 farms, a few cases of clinical mastitis were detected, mostly within the first eight weeks after the index case. Antibodies detected by in-house ELISA persisted in the serum of cows at least for 1.5 years on all farms, regardless of the M. bovis infection status or signs of clinical disease or subclinical mastitis on the farm. Six out of 19 farms became low risk as the infection was resolved. Our results suggest that, for biosecurity purposes, regular monitoring should be conducted on herds by screening for M. bovis in samples from cows with clinical mastitis and calves with pneumonia, in conjunction with testing young stock by screening longitudinally collected nasal swabs for M. bovis and sequential serum samples for antibody against recombinant antigen.
  • Rajala-Schultz, P. J.; Gott, P. N.; Proudfoot, K. L.; Schuenemann, M. (2018)
    Drying cows off at the end of lactation is a routine management practice in dairy operations. Most dairies in the United States and many other countries dry cows off abruptly (e.g., stop milking cows on a set day), which has been shown to affect cow comfort. Gradually reducing milk production is another approach to dry cows off, routinely used in some countries and herds. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects of abrupt and gradual milk cessation and milk yield at the time on cow activity after dry-off. Daily lying time, number of lying bouts per day, average lying bout length, and steps taken per day by abruptly and gradually dried-off cows were monitored by data loggers for 2 wk before and after the final milking at the end of lactation. Gradual cows were milked once daily for the last week of lactation, and abrupt cows were milked as usual (3 x /d) until the end of lactation. Gradual cessation of milking significantly reduced milk yield by the day of dry-off. After dry-off, gradual cows tended to have longer lying bouts than abrupt cows, but no other differences in cow activity between the 2 treatments were observed. Regardless of the dry-off method, the average length of a lying bout decreased by 4 min and total daily lying time decreased by 19 min after dry-off for each 5-kg increase in milk yield before dry-off. Lying behavior of primiparous cows was more affected by the level of milk yield at dry-off than that of older cows. A reduction in lying times with increasing milk yield may indicate discomfort due to the accumulating milk in the udder. Using a method that lowers milk production before dry-off and managing primiparous and multiparous cows separately around dry-off are beneficial for cow comfort after dry-off.
  • Laranjo-Gonzalez, Minerva; Devleesschauwer, Brecht; Trevisan, Chiara; Allepuz, Alberto; Sotiraki, Smaragda; Abraham, Annette; Afonso, Mariana Boaventura; Blocher, Joachim; Cardoso, Luis; Correia da Costa, Jose Manuel; Dorny, Pierre; Gabriel, Sarah; Gomes, Jacinto; Gomez-Morales, Maria Angeles; Jokelainen, Pikka; Kaminski, Miriam; Krt, Brane; Magnussen, Pascal; Robertson, Lucy J.; Schmidt, Veronika; Schmutzhard, Erich; Smit, G. Suzanne A.; Soba, Barbara; Stensvold, Christen Rune; Staric, Joze; Troell, Karin; Rataj, Aleksandra Vergles; Vieira-Pinto, Madalena; Vilhena, Manuela; Wardrop, Nicola Ann; Winkler, Andrea S.; Dermauw, Veronique (2017)
    Background: Taenia solium and Taenia saginata are zoonotic parasites of public health importance. Data on their occurrence in humans and animals in western Europe are incomplete and fragmented. In this study, we aimed to update the current knowledge on the epidemiology of these parasites in this region. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of scientific and grey literature published from 1990 to 2015 on the epidemiology of T. saginata and T. solium in humans and animals. Additionally, data about disease occurrence were actively sought by contacting local experts in the different countries. Results: Taeniosis cases were found in twelve out of eighteen countries in western Europe. No cases were identified in Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. For Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the UK, annual taeniosis cases were reported and the number of detected cases per year ranged between 1 and 114. Detected prevalences ranged from 0.05 to 0.27%, whereas estimated prevalences ranged from 0.02 to 0.67%. Most taeniosis cases were reported as Taenia spp. or T. saginata, although T. solium was reported in Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Portugal and the UK. Human cysticercosis cases were reported in all western European countries except for Iceland, with the highest number originating from Portugal and Spain. Most human cysticercosis cases were suspected to have acquired the infection outside western Europe. Cases of T. solium in pigs were found in Austria and Portugal, but only the two cases from Portugal were confirmed with molecular methods. Germany, Spain and Slovenia reported porcine cysticercosis, but made no Taenia species distinction. Bovine cysticercosis was detected in all countries except for Iceland, with a prevalence based on meat inspection of 0.0002-7.82%. Conclusions: Detection and reporting of taeniosis in western Europe should be improved. The existence of T. solium tapeworm carriers, of suspected autochthonous cases of human cysticercosis and the lack of confirmation of porcine cysticercosis cases deserve further attention. Suspected cases of T. solium in pigs should be confirmed by molecular methods. Both taeniosis and human cysticercosis should be notifiable and surveillance in animals should be improved.
  • Niine, Tarmo; Peetsalu, Kristel; Nieminen, Mauri; Oksanen, Antti; Soveri, Timo; Orro, Toomas (2017)
    This longitudinal observational study was conducted to investigate the spontaneous effect of Giardia and Cryptosporidium infections on acute phase response (APR) in reindeer calves (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) in Finnish Lapland. Serum (n = 609) and faecal samples (n = 366) were collected from 54 reindeer calves aged zero to 33 days. The samples were analysed for Giardia, Cryptosporidium, acute phase proteins (APP) and gamma-globulins. Linear regression models were used to investigate associations of early Giardia infection (before 12 days of life) with the response of APPs and acquiring of passive immunity. Giardia was detected in 100% and Cryptosporidium in 23% of calves. There was a negative association between early Giardia infection and gamma-globulin concentrations (p = 0.032) and a positive association with serum amyloid A (SAA) concentrations (p = 0.042). The results suggest a protective effect of colostrum against Giardia infection and that early infection may induce activation of APR.
  • Elbers, Jean P.; Rogers, Mark F.; Perelman, Polina L.; Proskuryakova, Anastasia A.; Serdyukova, Natalia A.; Johnson, Warren E.; Horin, Petr; Corander, Jukka; Murphy, David; Burger, Pamela A. (2019)
    Researchers have assembled thousands of eukaryotic genomes using Illumina reads, but traditional mate-pair libraries cannot span all repetitive elements, resulting in highly fragmented assemblies. However, both chromosome conformation capture techniques, such as Hi-C and Dovetail Genomics Chicago libraries and long-read sequencing, such as Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore, help span and resolve repetitive regions and therefore improve genome assemblies. One important livestock species of arid regions that does not have a high-quality contiguous reference genome is the dromedary (Camelus dromedarius). Draft genomes exist but are highly fragmented, and a high-quality reference genome is needed to understand adaptation to desert environments and artificial selection during domestication. Dromedaries are among the last livestock species to have been domesticated, and together with wild and domestic Bactrian camels, they are the only representatives of the Camelini tribe, which highlights their evolutionary significance. Here we describe our efforts to improve the North African dromedary genome. We used Chicago and Hi-C sequencing libraries from Dovetail Genomics to resolve the order of previously assembled contigs, producing almost chromosome-level scaffolds. Remaining gaps were filled with Pacific Biosciences long reads, and then scaffolds were comparatively mapped to chromosomes. Long reads added 99.32 Mbp to the total length of the new assembly. Dovetail Chicago and Hi-C libraries increased the longest scaffold over 12-fold, from 9.71 Mbp to 124.99 Mbp and the scaffold N50 over 50-fold, from 1.48 Mbp to 75.02 Mbp. We demonstrate that Illumina de novo assemblies can be substantially upgraded by combining chromosome conformation capture and long-read sequencing.
  • Seppä-Lassila, Leena; Orro, Toomas; Lassen, Brian; Lasonen, Riikka; Autio, Tiina; Pelkonen, Sinikka; Soveri, Timo (2015)
    In this study, the association between Eimeria spp. related signs and innate immune response in dairy calves was examined. Calves (n= 100) aged 15-60 days were clinically examined and faecal samples, blood samples and deep nasopharyngeal swabs obtained. The samples were analysed for intestinal pathogens, acute phase proteins and WBC count, and respiratory tract pathogens, respectively. Diarrhoea was diagnosed in 32.6% (23.3-43.0%, 95% CI) of calves. An association between the pathogenic Eimeria spp. and diarrhoea was detected by multiple correspondence analysis. Eimeria related signs (diarrhoea, presence of pathogenic species and total oocyst count) were combined resulting a four level variable. Calves with weak signs of eimeriosis had decreased haptoglobin concentrations (p = 0.02) and increased fibrinogen concentrations (p = 0.048) compared to no signs. Increased haptoglobin and fibrinogen concentrations were associated with respiratory tract infection and umbilical infection. Serum amyloid A and WBC counts showed no association with signs of eimeriosis or clinical diagnoses. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Aernouts, Ben; Adriaens, Ines; Diaz-Olivares, Jose; Saeys, Wouter; Mantysaari, Paivi; Kokkonen, Tuomo; Mehtio, Terhi; Kajava, Sari; Lidauer, Paula; Lidauer, Martin H.; Pastell, Matti (2020)
    In high-yielding dairy cattle, severe postpartum negative energy balance is often associated with metabolic and infectious disorders that negatively affect production, fertility, and welfare. Mobilization of adipose tissue associated with negative energy balance is reflected through an increased level of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) in the blood plasma. Earlier, identification of negative energy balance through detection of increased blood plasma NEFA concentration required laborious and stressful blood sampling. More recently, attempts have been made to predict blood NEFA concentration from milk samples. In this study, we aimed to develop and validate a model to predict blood plasma NEFA concentration using the milk mid-infrared (MIR) spectra that are routinely measured in the context of milk recording. To this end, blood plasma and milk samples were collected in wk 2, 3, and 20 postpartum for 192 lactations in 3 herds. The blood plasma samples were taken in the morning, and representative milk samples were collected during the morning and evening milk sessions on the same day. To predict plasma NEFA concentration from the milk MIR spectra, partial least squares regression models were trained on part of the observations from the first herd. The models were then thoroughly validated on all other observations of the first herd and on the observations of the 2 independent herds to explore their robustness and wide applicability. The final model could accurately predict blood plasma NEFA concentrations 1.2 mmol/L NEFA, the model clearly underestimated the true level. Additionally, we found that morning blood plasma NEFA levels were predicted with significantly higher accuracy using MIR spectra of evening milk samples compared with MIR spectra of morning samples, with root mean square error of prediction values of, respectively, 0.182 and 0.197 mmol/L, and R-2 values of 0.613 and 0.502. These results suggest a time delay between variations in blood plasma NEFA and related milk biomarkers. Based on the MIR spectra of evening milk samples, cows at risk for negative energy status, indicated by detrimental morning blood plasma NEFA levels (>0.6 mmol/L), could be identified with a sensitivity and specificity of, respectively, 0.831 and 0.800. As this model can be applied to millions of historical and future milk MIR spectra, it opens an opportunity for regular metabolic screening and improved resilience phenotyping.
  • de Haan, Caroline P A; Kivistö, Rauni I; Hakkinen, Marjaana; Corander, Jukka; Hänninen, Marja-Liisa (2010)
  • Sarjokari, K.; Hovinen, M.; Seppä-Lassila, L.; Norring, M.; Hurme, T.; Peltoniemi, O.A.T.; Soveri, T.; Rajala-Schultz, P.J. (2018)
    ABSTRACT On-farm death (OFD) of a dairy cow is always a financial loss for a farmer, and potentially a welfare issue that has to be addressed within the dairy industry. The aim of this study was to explore the associations between OFD of dairy cows, housing, and herd management in freestall barns. To achieve the goal, we followed 10,837 cows calving in 2011 in 82 herds. Data were gathered with observations and a structured interview during farm visits and from a national dairy herd improvement database. The hazard of OFD was modeled with a shared frailty survival model, with SAS 9.3 PHREG procedure (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). The study population was 58% Ayrshire and 42% Holstein cows. The median herd size and mean milk yield in the study herds were 116 cows and 9,151 kg of milk per cow per year. The overall probability of OFD was 6.0%; 1.8% of the cows died unassisted and 4.2% were euthanized. Variation in OFD percentage between individual herds was large, from 0 to 16%, accounting for 0 to 58% of all removals in the herds. Keeping close-up dry cows in an own group was associated with higher hazard of OFD [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.37] compared with keeping them in the same pen with far-off dry cows. Higher hazard on OFD was observed when barns had only one kind of calving pens; single (HR = 2.09) or group pens (HR = 1.72), compared with having both of those types. The hazard of OFD was lower if the whole herd was housed in barns or pens that had only 1 type of feed barrier at the feed bunk, namely post-and-rail (HR = 0.51) or a type with barriers between the cow's heads (HR = 0.49), compared with having 2 types. Lower OFD hazard was observed with wider than 340 cm of walking alley next to the feeding table (HR = 0.75), and with housing a whole herd in pens with only 1 type of walking alley surface, specifically slatted (HR = 0.53) or solid (HR = 0.48), compared with having both types. The hazard of OFD was higher with stalls wider than 120 cm (HR = 1.38) compared with narrower stalls. The hazard of OFD was also associated with breed, parity, and calving season. This study identified many factors that contribute to the incidence of OFD of dairy cows. The solutions for reducing on-farm mortality include housing, management, and breeding choices that are most probably herd specific.
  • Llarena, Ann-Katrin; Huneau, Adeline; Hakkinen, Marjaana; Hänninen, Marja-Liisa (2015)
  • Ternman, Emma; Nilsson, Emma; Nielsen, Per Peetz; Pastell, Matti; Hänninen, Laura; Agenäs, Sigrid (2019)
    ABSTRACT The importance of rest and sleep is well established; we know, for example, that lack of sleep impairs immune function in rats and increases pain sensitivity in humans. However, little is known about sleep in dairy cows, but a lack of rest and sleep is discussed as a possible welfare problem in cattle. A first step toward a better understanding of sleep in dairy cows is to quantify the time cows spend awake and asleep in different stages of lactation. Using electrophysiological recordings on 7 occasions in wk −2, 2, 7, 13, 22, 37, and 45 in relation to calving, we investigated changes in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep time as well as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, drowsing, awake, and rumination in 19 dairy cows of the Swedish Red breed kept in single pens with ad libitum access to feed and water. The recordings on wk −2 and 45 were conducted during the dry period, and all others during lactation. The PROC MIXED procedure in SAS (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC) was used to test for significant differences in REM, NREM, drowsing, awake, and rumination between the different stages of lactation cycle. Pairwise comparisons between all recording occasions showed that total REM sleep duration was shorter for cows in wk 2 relative to calving compared with wk −2, and the number of REM sleep bouts were fewer in wk 2 compared with wk −2. The REM sleep was recorded during both the day (0500–2100 h) and night (2100–0500 h), but predominantly performed at night compared with daytime, and the bout duration was longer during nighttime compared with daytime. A tendency was observed for time spent in NREM sleep to be shorter in wk 2 relative to calving compared with wk −2. The duration spent drowsing was shorter for cows in wk 2 and 13 relative to calving compared with wk −2. We found no effect of stage of lactation cycle on the duration of awake or ruminating. Our study is the first to assess sleep distribution during a lactation cycle, and our results show that stage of lactation is important to consider when moving forward with sleep investigations in dairy cows. The shortest REM sleep duration was found for cows 2 wk after calving and longest 2 wk before calving, and the difference was due a higher number of REM sleep bouts in the recording 2 wk before calving. The REM sleep and rumination predominantly occurred at night but were recorded during both day and night.
  • Li, Xiaofei; Zhong, Zhiwei; Sanders, Dirk; Smit, Christian; Wang, Deli; Nummi, Petri; Zhu, Yu; Wang, Ling; Zhu, Hui; Hassan, Nazim (2018)
    While positive interactions have been well documented in plant and sessile benthic marine communities, their role in structuring mobile animal communities and underlying mechanisms has been less explored. Using field removal experiments, we demonstrated that a large vertebrate herbivore (cattle; Bos tarurs) and a much smaller invertebrate (ants; Lasius spp.), the two dominant animal taxa in a semi-arid grassland in Northeast China, facilitate each other. Cattle grazing led to higher ant mound abundance compared with ungrazed sites, while the presence of ant mounds increased the foraging of cattle during the peak of the growing season. Mechanistically, these reciprocal positive effects were driven by habitat amelioration and resource (food) enhancement by cattle and ants (respectively). Cattle facilitated ants, probably by decreasing plant litter accumulation by herbivory and trampling, allowing more light to reach the soil surface leading to microclimatic conditions that favour ants. Ants facilitated cattle probably by increasing soil nutrients via bioturbation, increasing food (plant) biomass and quality (nitrogen content) for cattle. Our study demonstrates reciprocal facilitative interactions between two animal species from phylogenetically very distant taxa. Such reciprocal positive interactions may be more common in animal communities than so far assumed, and they should receive more attention to improve our understanding of species coexistence and animal community assembly.
  • Haapala, Vera; Pohjanvirta, Tarja; Vähänikkilä, Nella; Halkilahti, Jani; Simonen, Henri; Pelkonen, Sinikka; Soveri, Timo; Simojoki, Heli; Autio, Tiina (2018)
    Mycoplasma bovis infections are responsible for substantial economic losses in the cattle industry, have significant welfare effects and increase antibiotic use. The pathogen is often introduced into naive herds through healthy carrier animals. In countries with a low prevalence of M. bovis, transmission from less common sources can be better explored as the pathogen has limited circulation compared to high prevalence populations. In this study, we describe how M. bovis was introduced into two closed and adequately biosecure dairy herds through the use of contaminated semen during artificial insemination (AI), leading to mastitis outbreak in both herds. Epidemiological analysis did not reveal an infection source other than semen. In both farms the primary clinical cases were M. bovis mastitis in cows inseminated with the semen of the same bull four weeks before the onset of the disease. One semen straw derived from the semen tank on the farm and other semen lots of this bull were positive for M. bovis. In contrast, semen samples were negative from other bulls that had been used for insemination in previous or later oestrus to those cows with M. bovis mastitis. Furthermore, cgMLST of M. bovis isolates supported the epidemiological results. To our knowledge this is the first study describing the introduction of M. bovis infection into a naive dairy herd via processed semen. The antibiotics used in semen extenders should be re-evaluated in order to provide farms with M. bovis-free semen or tested M. bovis-free semen should be available.
  • Norring, M.; Haggman, J.; Simojoki, H.; Tamminen, P.; Winckler, C.; Pastell, M. (2014)