Document Type

Honors Thesis


Animal and Veterinary Sciences


Anne Lichtenwalner

Committee Members

R.W. Estela, David Marcincowski, Juan Romero, James Weber

Graduation Year

May 2022

Publication Date

Spring 5-2022


This project investigated the factors surrounding the incidence of Staphylococcus aureus (SA) mastitis in Maine dairy cattle. This type of mastitis is driven by an antibiotic resistant pathogen that is very contagious among cattle, though farmers are often unaware of how common this type of mastitis is and that it could be present in their herds. My hypothesis was that specific farm factors, like milkers performing other tasks during milking, as well as the act of pre-dipping versus not pre-dipping, would explain the increase in SA mastitis. A thirty-seven-question IRB-approved survey was subsequently distributed to farmers in the University of Maine Extension contact list and to farmer Facebook groups. Among a total of 11 responses, SA mastitis was seen in farms that do and do not pre-dip, in those whose milkers do not palpate the cow’s udder before unit removal, and in those where the cow is allowed to lie down shortly after being milked. In addition, seven of the survey respondents had a history of SA mastitis, and only two of them were able to eradicate it from their herds. Overall, the results showed that SA mastitis occurs on both small- and large-scale farms, and areas of management could be changed to decrease the presence of SA mastitis, like the frequent changing of gloves and the palpation of the udders before the milking unit is removed. This project suggested that SA mastitis is common in Maine, and farmers may be unaware of whether this pathogen is infecting their herds.