An evaluation of traditional, novel and prospective cow-side tests in an approach to mastitits diagnosis
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Effective cow-side tests that can be used by farmers and veterinarians, have the potential to stop the propagation of mastitis in a herd. An evaluation of conventional, novel and prospective cow-side tests was reviewed in this paper. Each cow-side test was evaluated against a gold standard, and the results were compared with one another. Factors concerning ‘onsite’ practicality were also taken into account, in order to narrow down the best methods. It is evident that the Delaval cell counter and PortaSCC® cow-side tests are amongst the most efficient cow-side tests in mastitis diagnosis. The Delaval cell counter showed a positive correlation (.92) with the SCC gold standard, and had a specificity and sensitivity greater than 91% when a threshold level of 205’000 cells/ml was used (Ruegg, 2009). An excellent correlation of 98% was achieved when the PortaSCC® was evaluated against the average of two reference laboratories SCC gold standards (www.portacheck.com). Future prospects, such as the ability to measure LDH activity onsite with dry chemistry and a portable spectrophotometer, while yielding great results (Hiss, 2007) ‘raises the bar’ for currently used cow-side tests. In this review, mastitis diagnostics that are essential in performance monitoring are discussed. Recent advancements within this field, with particular emphasis on the cow-side approach are explored. “ Monitoring udder health performance is impossible without reliable and affordable diagnostic methods” (Lam, 2009).