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California Mastitis Test

03 April 2020
Type Press Release

DAIRY: The California mastitis test is a simple procedure to help identify high SCC quarters within high cell count cows. It is impossible to identify sub clinical mastitis without this aid.

The California mastitis test kit, is an excellent tool to help identify high SCC quarters within high cell count cows. It is impossible to identify sub clinical mastitis without this aid, as there are no visible clots in these high cell count quarters to the naked eye.

The procedure is very simple, you should carry out the test prior to milking. Discard the first 3 draws and then fill each well with a quantity of milk, try to avoid cross contamination. Once all 4 wells have a quantity of milk, tilt the tray to a 45 degree angle, this will ensure there is an equal volume of milk in all 4 wells. Turn the tray back flat and squeeze the bottle until an equal quantity is applied to all four wells there should be approx. 50:50 mix of milk and reagent.

Stir the tray for 30 seconds and watch for any changes to the consistency of the solution. The degree of thickness reflects how high the SCC level is within the quarter.

We would highly recommend you take a sample of milk into a sample bottle and label them and wait until the end of milking before you test the cows, when you have time to analyse and record your results.

Scoring scale

Score 1 - Very good - no change to the thickness very fluid - SCC<500,000

Score 2 - Poor - slight changes to consistency grains evident when tilted left to right slight thickness evident SCC >500,00 and<1,500,000

Score 3 - Very poor - thickness very evident when swirling, when emptying wells solution may stick to the paddle SCC >2,000,000

The accurate interpretation of this rapid test takes a certain level of skill and practice. The starting point should be to have a recent milk recording carried out or an individual SCC on all cows carried out by your co-op. To help train your eye in, you should consider carrying out a SCC test on individual quarters, then carry out a CMT on these quarters and compare results.

It is very important to record the results, when the results are recorded you can analyse them to see if any pattern is evident, e.g. a lot of back right quarters, if milking through the back legs, it may suggest a contagious mastitis which may be spread through the liners.

It is important to discuss with you Adviser or Vet what treatment / culling procedures should be followed when you have performed this test. These results in conjunction with a milk recording are an excellent tool to control and understand mastitis patterns within a dairy herd.