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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Early Mastitis Detection

Dairy Pipeline: November 2003

Sue Puffenbarger,
Extension Area Dairy Agent,
Franklin County
(540) 483-5161

Various studies have shown that there are significant economic benefits to early detection of intramammary infections. This year at the National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting there were three presentations on the use of the California Mastitis Test (CMT) for early detection of mastitis. In each of the three studies, the CMT was used within four days of calving. The incidence of positive (infected) quarters ranged from 10% to 60%. All infected quarters were sampled using aseptic techniques and cows in two trials were assigned to a treated (cephapirin sodium) or untreated group. Environmental pathogens made up the majority of the organisms found in culture. Results showed an improvement in cure rate and SCC for the treated group in both trials. The three studies concluded that the use of the CMT was beneficial to determining udder health status in early lactation. The CMT is a inexpensive and easy way to detect mastitis and it allows you to evaluate a cow's status prior to the first DHIA test and make treatment decisions sooner. This could provide direct economic benefits in the form of SCC premiums, decreased discard milk, and the prevention of the spread of a contagious organism to other cows. The CMT combined with your monthly DHIA data are two important tools for your use in combating mastitis and increased SCC.

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