Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Mastitis: Klebsiella spp

Contributor(s): Andrew Henderson, Alexander Corbishley

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  • Klebsiella is an opportunistic mastitis pathogen.



  • Family: Enterobacteriaceae.
  • Genus: Klebsiella.
  • Common species: K. pneumoniae, K. oxytoca.
  • Opportunistic pathogen.

Predisposing factors


  • Immune suppression, concurrent disease and/or other mammary gland disease, ie teat trauma.
  • Herds with low bulk milk SCC (≤150,000 cells/ml) are suggested as having an increased tendency for clinical mastitis of this etiology than those with intermediate (150-250,000 cells/ml) or higher BMSCC (250-400,000 cells/ml).



  • Present in the intestinal tract of humans and animals.
  • May be shed by up to 80% of healthy cows.
  • Contaminate/populate soil, water, bedding and feeds (forage and grains).
  • Common source:
    • Heavy fecal contamination of environment.
    • Poor storage/handling and organic matter contamination of bedding materials.
    • Wet sawdust bedding or non-kiln dried.
    • Shavings.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Bradley A J et al (2015) An investigation of the efficacy of a polyvalent mastitis vaccine using different vaccination regimens under field conditions in the United Kingdom. J Dairy Sci 98 (3), 1706-1720 SciDirect.
  • Schukken Y et al (2012) The “Other” Gram-Negative Bacteria in Mastitis. Klebsiella, Serratia, and More. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract PubMed.
  • Schukken Y H et al (2011) Randomized clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of a 5-day ceftiofur hydrochloride intramammary treatment on nonsevere gram-negative clinical mastitis. J Dairy Sci 94 (12), 6203-6215 PubMed.
  • Munoz M A et al (2008) Cleanliness Scores as Indicator of Klebsiella Exposure in Dairy Cows. J Dairy Sci 91 (10), 3908-3916 PubMed.
  • Munoz M A et al (2007) Molecular epidemiology of two Klebsiella pneumoniae mastitis outbreaks on a dairy farm in New York State. J Clin Microbiol 45 (12), 3964-3971 PubMed.
  • Gröhn Y T et al (2004) Effect of Pathogen-Specific Clinical Mastitis on Milk Yield in Dairy Cows. Journal of Dairy Science 87 (10), 3358–3374 PubMed.
  • Roberson J R, Warnick L D & Moore G (2004) Mild to Moderate Clinical Mastitis: Efficacy of Intramammary Amoxicillin, Frequent Milk-Out, a Combined Intramammary Amoxicillin, and Frequent Milk-Out Treatment Versus No Treatment. J Dairy Sci 87 (3), 583–592 PubMed.
  • Hogan J & Smith K L (2003) Coliform mastitis. Vet Res 34 (5), 507-519 PubMed.
  • Barkema H W et al (1998) Incidence of Clinical Mastitis in Dairy Herds Grouped in Three Categories by Bulk Milk Somatic Cell Counts. J Dairy Sci 81 (2), 411–419 PubMed.
  • Todhunter D A et al (1991) Gram-negative bacterial infections of the mammary gland in cows. Am J Vet Res 52 (2), 184-188 PubMed.
  • Larry Smith K, Todhunter D & Schoenberger P S (1985) Environmental Pathogens and Intramammary Infection During the Dry Period. J Dairy Sci 68 (2), 402-417 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Quinn P et al (2011) Veterinary Microbiology and Microbial Disease. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell.