Mastitis, how to detect early?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by John Hill, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    I would like to know if there are any methods of detecting mastitis early? I have a possible solution but I want to know what the alternatives are before revealing what I have in mind.
     
  2. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    C.M.T. - California Mastitis Test here in the States
    R.M.T. - Rapid Mastitis Test down under

    Either will detect a high cell count
     

  3. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Thanks Haggis, I know those tests as the 'slime test' and there are electronic equivalents that monitor milk in the milk line.

    What I have in mind is a means of detecting mastitis earlier than that, a test that could be done at every milking. I just need a bit more information from my veternarian acquaintance!
     
  4. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Hmmm ... anecdotally ... if it's a cow you're accustomed to milking every day, you may notice a marked drop in milk production, which often signifies incipient mastitis.

    Also, a quarter that stays hard, or still has milk in it after the others are milked out (assuming no problems with the equipment) also can be a sign of an upcoming problem.

    In the latter case, you can sometimes dodge the bullet just by keeping the cow stripped out, and applying Uddermint (I swear they should pay me a commission, as often as I recommend their product! LOL!) (I don't have stock in the company, I swear!!!) :haha:

    I am not sure if this is what you were looking for, but what the heck. :)
     
  5. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I've read that vets have found high cell counts in heifers as young as 6 months old. Ya can't get much earlier that that.
     
  6. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Mastitis, that's an infection that gets in through the little milk hole isn't it?
     
  7. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Sure, bacteria getting into the udder causes it ... that's why the teats are dipped and wiped first ... but there are other contributing factors as well ... handling the teats roughly, stripping them out incorrectly, or leaving milkers on too long (which also breaks down the cells lining the teats). Or not getting all the milk out can lead to irritation and infection. Some cows have 'lopsided' udders where one or more quarters takes longer than the rest to milk out ... so the 'light' quarter gets over-milked, or the 'heavy' quarter gets undermilked, unless the milker is paying attention and compensates.

    Also, problems associated with calving (metritis, ketosis, milk fever, etc.) seem to go hand-in-hand with mastitis. I'd imagine cows that are stressed and/or uncomfortable for whatever reason probably are more at risk. (For instance, cows that are crowded are more likely to lay in the alleys or around the feed bunk, in the slop, instead of in their freestalls, and having their udders dipped in manure certainly doesn't help. :( )

    Some cows just seem to be more prone to mastitis than others, and once they get it, it tends to reoccur. (BTW Haggis, I think there may be some genetic predisposition, which may explain the high SCCs in some heifers ... could also be that sanitation practices in the heifer and dry cow barns sometimes are a bit casual! :eek: )

    Some cows seem to remain subclinical in a particular teat and flare up periodically. Whenever I end up with a dirty filter, I pay special attention to my 'usual suspects' at the next milking, and 9 out of 10 times, it will be one of a handful of 'problem cows.'

    Wow, that was probably WAY more than you needed to know, eh?!? :haha:
     
  8. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Well willow_girl, you are looking at the business end of a lot of cattle and see more in a day than many of us will see in a lifetime of house cows. I read what you say in reference to cattle very carefully. I'm not just shining you on here, there is good stuff in what you write.
     
  9. poorme

    poorme Well-Known Member

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    if you've got a better solution call a patent attorney before you tell us.
     
  10. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Excellent advice Poorme but first I need to reassure myself that I know that what I have in mind is actually an improvement on current practice.
     
  11. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Thanks Willow-Girl, everything you say tends to confirm what I suspected and that there may be potential in what I have in mind.

    It is quite a while since I was close to a cow and then we only had two or three that we hand milked where they stood in the pasture. Never had any machinery experience so I am a bit light on background knowledge as far as the bigger dairies are concerned. I was supposed to visit a new milking establishment tomorrow but it has been cancelled, not sure why and I hope it is not cold feet for the project.

    With software and system development knowledge of the client's industry is more important than knowing how to write tight code.

    If this comes to anything do you want to be my US agent? :haha: :haha:
     
  12. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Why thanks, guys! :eek:

    Keep in mind, though, that I am a newbie at this ... only been doing it for a year! There are many with much more experience than I! :worship:

    I have done a bit of reading, though, 'cause I really do try to do right by my girls. :)

    And sure, John, I'll be your U.S. agent! (For a generous commission, of course! Heh!) ;)
     
  13. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if this is what you'r asking. But we 'strip' the 2 front teats in the am and the 2 back teats in the pm. That is taking a bit of milk out before putting the cups on. You can see the difference between mastitis and 'proper' milk also the udder can be warmer and look harder than normal. If you know your cows individually you can tell by their behaviour before the physical presentation of mastitis.
     
  14. Tom McLaughlin

    Tom McLaughlin Tom

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    Awhile back I was reading about a electronic detection instrument called Mas-D-Tec, but couldn't locate any user opinions .... Anyone ????
     
  15. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Thanks guys for all the information.

    I have been considering a system for the medium size herd, 300 - 500 cows, where the milkers do not know the individual cows and where letting mastitis infected milk or worse still antibiotics, get into the milk vat is a big economic loss.

    Unfortunately the people who might supply the appropriate equipment do not seem to like answering emails!
     
  16. poorme

    poorme Well-Known Member

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    well, the more modern dairies have an device that monitors the electric conductivity of the milk. mastitic milk is more conductive. an alarm goes off and a report is generated at the computer. not sure how it all works.
     
  17. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Poorme, thanks, apparently the increased conductivity comes from the increase in white cells. I am trying to do something to detect a fresh infection before the cups go on.