Detecting mastitis in dairy cows in Day One milk is very important to controlling mastitis, according to a survey of leading dairy veterinarians. Mastitis, an infection in milk-producing glands in dairy cows, results in a $2 billion loss in the $25 billion U.S. milk production industry each year.

More than 86% of survey respondents rated it “very important” to detect mastitis, including subclinical mastitis in day one colostrum.

“Dairy veterinarians were very clear that detecting mastitis as early as possible after calving would be a tremendous benefit,” said Rudy Rodriguez, Chief Scientific Officer, Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD). “Technology developed by AAD will be the first mastitis detection tool that is highly accurate in diagnosing subclinical mastitis in day one colostrum.”

Incidence of mastitis is highest shortly after calving, with at least 30% of all infections starting in early lactation. Current mastitis testing methods do not allow practical, accurate testing of all cows following calving. However, measurement of differential inflammatory cell counts with new technology being developed by AAD will allow detection of mastitis in colostrum at the quarter level.

“Dairy producers will benefit from earlier detection of mastitis because it will allow infected cows to be treated before they enter the milking herd after calving,” said Rodriguez. “This can eliminate the need to discard milk because treatment and withdrawal happen before cows enter the milking herd. It also means they start the marathon of milk production without the burden of mastitis.”

Introduced in the 1960s, the somatic cell count method measures the total number of cells in a milk sample. Proprietary AAD technology breaks down that total count into three different types of white blood cells – lymphocytes, neutrophils and macrophages. This provides the ability to detect mastitis at a subclinical level much earlier than by simply measuring total somatic cell counts.

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