Protothecosis was described in many animals, with bovine mastitis being the main form. The increasing number of isolations of Prototheca spp. from bovine mastitis cases indicates the need of a detailed evaluation of this problem. Besides this, these algae do not respond to treatment with the antimicrobians most frequently applied, leading to elimination of the affected animals, as the best method to control the disease. In two dairy farms in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, a total of 155 lactating cows and 52 dry cows were examined. Milk samples were aseptically collected from lactating cows with clinical or subclinical mastitis. From dry cows, secretion samples from all quarters were collected. All samples were then taken to microbiological exams. At dairy farm 1, Prototheca spp. was isolated from 14.95% milk samples from lactating cows, (all of them cases of subclinical mastitis), and from 8.06% samples from dry cows. At dairy farm 2, Prototheca spp. was isolated from 5.1% milk samples and there were ten cases of clinical mastitis due to this agent. Although clinical mastitis has been considered the main form of occurrence of this pathology until now, it is important to consider Prototheca spp. as subclinical mastitis pathogen. Prototheca zopfii was the main specie isolated. In this study a high rate of intramammarian infections, as clinical or subclinical mastitis during lactation as well as in dry period, was observed, high lighting the importance of suitable diagnosis, so that control and preventive measures can be implemented to avoid dissemination of the agent.
Key wordsbovine mastitis Prototheca spp
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