The association between antibody titres against Campylobacter fetus and milk production efficiency in dairy cattle

S. Akhtar, H. P. Riemann, Mark Thurmond, C. E. Franti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The association between serological evidence of exposure to Campylobacter fectus and milk production performance was studied in 178 lactating cows from three California Dairy Herd Improvement Association herds using a cross-sectional study design in December 1986. ELISAs were used to determine the antibody titres against Campylobacter fetus, Haemophilus somnus and Leptospira hardjo, which were classified as either negative or positive. The status of a cow as negative or positive against C. fetus and H. somnus represents the serological evidence of natural exposure to the corresponding bacteria. However, the status against L. hardjo was assumed to be the level of vaccinal titre against this organism since all the cows studied had been vaccinated against this agent. The data on demographic and productivity variables relating to the current lactation of the cows were obtained from Dairy Herd Improvement Association individual cow records for December 1986. Four measures of milk production efficiency for the current lactation were used. The status against L. hardjo and other covariates suggested by previous studies were included in modelling the relationships of interest. Stepwise multiple linear regression was used to study the adjusted relationship of C. fetus with each measure of milk production efficiency. Multivariate analyses revealed that the adjusted relationships of C. fetus with the test-day's milk production, the extended 305-day milk production and the relative value of milk production were not significant (p>0.1). However, after adjusting for possible covariates, C. fetus-positive cows had an average of 7.43% lower mature equivalent milk production than C. fetus-negative cows (p=0.02). Among the covariates, the serological status against L. hardjo had a strong and independent relationship with the percentage mature equivalent milk production, the unstandardized partial regression coefficient being 4.53. We conclude from this cross-sectional study that the association of C. fetus seropositivity with one index of milk production is the first indication that latent C. fetus infection may be associated with subclinical mastitis, perhaps through a hypersensitivity reaction. However, this needs further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1993


  • antibody
  • Campylobacter fetus
  • cattle
  • milk production
  • serosurvey
  • subclinical disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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