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Isolation of Mycoplasma bovigenitalium from infertile dairy cattle
  1. Salvatore Catania1,
  2. Alexander Tavella2,
  3. Federica Gobbo1 and
  4. Robin Ashley John Nicholas3
  1. 1Mycoplasma Unit, Istituto Zooprofilattico delle Venezie, Viale Università 10, Legnaro, Padua 35020, Italy
  2. 2Diagnostic Service, Istituto Zooprofilattico delle Venezie, Via Laura Conti 4, Bolzano 39100, Italy
  3. 3Department of Bacteriology, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robin Ashley John Nicholas, robin.nicholas{at}


Mycoplasma bovigenitalium can cause vulvovaginitis, epididymitis and infertility in cattle and has also been isolated from cases of mastitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis and arthritis. The authors describe an infertility syndrome in a dairy cattle herd where cattle presenting vulvovaginitis required at least four attempts of artificial insemination (AI) to become pregnant. Diagnostic tests carried out for infectious agents that could affect the reproductive system were negative except for M bovigenitalium which was isolated from vaginal swabs. Antibiotic susceptibility testing on the isolated strains showed high in vitro effectiveness to tylosin. Based on this, 10 heifers were treated daily with tylosin following the manufacturer's dosing regimen beginning two days before the animals were inseminated and finishing three days after. All 10 treated heifers subsequently became pregnant within a maximum of two AI procedures. Investigations as to the likely source of the infection are underway with contaminated semen being the chief suspect.

  • Infertility
  • Mycoplasmas
  • Treatment
  • Artifical insemination (AI)
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