20 October 1995

Meter may be early detector

MASTITIS treatment could be possible two milkings before clinical signs appear provided work to develop an electric conductivity meter to detect incidence in each quarter comes to commercial fruition.

Researcher Eric Hillerton at the Institute of Animal Health, Compton, said it was possible to identify mastitis one or two milkings before clots were seen in the milk using a hand-held meter. However, he had yet to see a reliable automatic sensor in operation.

By measuring electric conductivity of milk from each quarter it was possible to treat mastitis as soon as cell counts increased by 100,000/ml.

This would allow cases to be treated earlier and more successfully than is currently possible with conventional detection or commercially available mastitis detectors, he claimed.

"Cell counts would return to below 500,000/ml about eight milkings earlier, and cell counts be lower after early treatment than cows on conventional diagnosis," he said.

"The yield of cows after early diagnosis and treatment also suffered less in the long term. Their milk yield was reduced by an almost normal 2.4% after 28 days compared with 6% after conventional treatment."

Eric Hillerton:"Yields after early diagnosis and treatment of mastitis suffered less in the long term."