For a long time now mastitis detection has in large part been about keeping an eye on somatic cell count numbers. However with DeLaval’s Herd Navigator you can get a more accurate reading by measuring other components like the enzyme Lactate Dehydrogenase.
Mastitis is an inflammation in the mammary gland, primarily caused by bacterial infections. When the bacteria grow it then releases certain metabolites (different pathogens cause different metabolites to increase) and toxins that stimulate the defence mechanisms in a cow. The immune system responds by releasing white blood cells from the peripheral blood stream, that then travel to the udder region. The consequences of mastitis are tissue damage and dysfunctional mammary glands. Clinical mastitis is rather easy for the farmer to detect as the symptoms are clotting and discoloration of the milk. In severe cases the cow has a fever and a loss of appetite. However subclinical mastitis can be harder to discover as both the milk and udder can appear normal.
DeLaval’s Herd Navigator is very different from traditional mastitis detection where the diagnosis is based on clinical signs the cow is already showing or an increase in somatic cells.
Somatic cell count can be used as an indication of disease and a way to determine the severity of it. Somatic cells are all cells that aren’t gamete, germ or stem cells. Usually an increase in these cells means an increase in white blood cells which will happen because of the need to fight a bacterial infection that’s taken hold. The downside of this measurement is that it can be a sign of other problems and not just mastitis. For instance somatic cell count can be affected by other factors such as heat stress and changes in feeding.
Discovering a case of mastitis as early as possible and thereby reducing the likelihood of tissue damage can be a cost effective way of lowering future losses. The Herd Navigator uses the enzyme Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) in it’s analys. LDH is a protein that can be found in small amounts in almost all tissue. When elevated levels of this enzyme can be found it’s a sure sign of the beginning of tissue damage and can be a clear indicator of subclinical mastitis. With the herd navigator an infection can be found several days before it’s visible, meaning you can be proactive in your mastitis reduction methods.