No Direct Link Between Infection, Milk Shortage

GERMANY - Kemper and Gerjets of Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel have investigated the bacterial population of the sow's mammary gland to determine any links with post-partum dysgalactia syndrome (PPDS; agalactia). The paper, published in Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, does not indicate any clear causative links between the bacteria studied and the condition.
calendar icon 24 June 2009
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The performance of piglet weight gain is strongly dependent on the sow's ability to meet the demand for adequate milk wrote Kemper and Gerjets. Post-parturient disorders, especially those subsumed under the term post-partum dysgalactia syndrome (PPDS), can alter or reduce the milk production sensitively, resulting in starving piglets. The aim of this study was to gather further information about the prevalence of different bacterial species in the anterior and posterior mammary glands of sows with respect to the clinical appearance of PPDS.


In this study, the health status of 56 sows after farrowing was determined with special regard to mastitis and dysgalactia. Pooled milk samples from anterior and posterior glands were taken from both affected and non-affected animals and analysed bacteriologically for the presence of a wide spectrum of different pathogens.


Mainly E. coli, staphylococci and streptococci were detected in high percentages but without significant differences in healthy and diseased animals and anterior and posterior glands. However, the large percentages of coliform bacteria suggested a transmission route via faecal contamination.


In this study, the prevalence of different bacteria in anterior and posterior glands in PPDS positive and negative sows was analysed. No significant differences in bacteria of healthy and diseased sows were assessed.

Kemper and Gerjets concluded that the development of clinical PPDS and actual infection seems to be largely dependent on individual resistance in single sows.


Kemper N. and I. Gerjets. 2009. Bacteria in milk from anterior and posterior mammary glands in sows affected and unaffected by postpartum dysgalactia syndrome (PPDS). Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2009, 51:26. doi:10.1186/1751-0147-51-26

Further Reading

- You can view the provisional version of the full report by clicking here.
- Find out more information on agalactia by clicking here.
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