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Prevalence of Subclinical Mastitis and its Effects on Reproductive Performance in Dairy Cows during the Postpartum Period in Gasabo District, Rwanda

Jean Baptiste Twagirayezu


Vestine Musanayire


Lydia Murerwa


Mohamed Moctar Mouliom Mouiche


Jean Nepomuscene Hakizimana


Pascal Nyabinwa

Jean Baptiste Twagirayezu 1

Vestine Musanayire 2 Lydia Murerwa 2 Mohamed Moctar Mouliom Mouiche 4
Jean Nepomuscene Hakizimana 5
Pascal Nyabinwa 6

  1. University of Technology and Arts of Byumba, Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Management, Byumba, Rwanda. 1

  2. Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, Kigali- Rwanda. 2

  3. University of Ngaoundere, School of Veterinary Medicine and Sciences, Ngaoundere, Cameroon. 4

  4. SACIDS Africa Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases, SACIDS Foundation for One Health, Sokoine University of Agriculture & Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Parasitology and Biotechnology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sci 5

  5. Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, Kigali- Rwanda & Egerton University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton, Kenya. 6

Pages: 1-13

DOI: 10.18488/journal.110.2021.61.1.13

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Article History:

Received: 22 January, 2021
Revised: 26 February, 2021
Accepted: 19 March, 2021
Published: 15 April, 2021


Mastitis is one of the most important diseases affecting production and reproductive efficiency of dairy cows. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of subclinical mastitis (SCMA) and its effects on reproductive performance in postpartum dairy cows. In a cross-sectional survey, sample cows (n = 200) within their 10-40 days in milk from smallholder farms (n = 159) were selected and tested for SCMA using California Mastitis Test. They were classified into two groups: cows with SCMA (SCMA group, n = 101) and cows without SCMA (WSCMA group, n = 99). Reproductive performance including calving-to-first-oestrus interval (CFOI), calving-to-first service interval (CFSI), calving-to-conception interval (CCI), cows that remained non-pregnant, postpartum anoestrus, and total number of services per conception were recorded for 150 days in milk. The overall prevalence of SCMA recorded was 50.5%. The mean number of days for CFOI was significantly longer (p<0.05) in cows with SCMA (87.6±4.8 days) than in cows WSCMA (72.5±4.3 days). The mean days for CFSI was significantly longer (p<0.05) in cows with SCMA (97.2±5.6 days) than in cows WSCMA (78.9±4.9 days). The difference between the CCI of the SCMA positive cows (107.8±7.4 days) and that of the negative ones (62.5±4.5 days) was statistically significant (p<0.001). Cows with SCMA required more breeding services (p<0.05) to conceive (1.9±0.1 services) than cows WSCMA (1.2±0.1 services). Results indicate that SCMA had significant negative effect on fertility performance. Therefore, improving management interventions to prevent and control SCMA is essential for reducing its adverse effects in dairy cows.
Contribution/ Originality
This study is one of very few studies which have investigated the occurrence of subclinical mastitis and its effects on subsequent reproductive performance of zero-grazed dairy cows under existing smallholder farming conditions. The study has also contributed to the existing literatures concerning mastitis infections in dairy cows.


Subclinical mastitis, Smallholder farmers, Postpartum, Dairy cows, Reproductive performance, Rwanda, Gasabo district.


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This study received no specific financial support.

Competing Interests:

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


The authors acknowledge full support from Animal Resources Officers, enumerators, and farmers for their time and participation.

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