Evaluating quarter versus composite milk sampling for detection of subclinical intramammary infections
Keywords:milk sampling, intramammary infections, Mastitis, mammary gland, inflammation, dairy industry, subclinical infections, antibiotic, milk somatic cell
The objective of our study was to evaluate quarter versus composite milk sampling for detection of subclinical intramammary infections. Mastitis, infection and inflammation of the mammary gland, is the most costly disease facing the dairy industry today, with nearly two-thirds of the cost attributed to subclinical infections. Additionally, as the number one reason for antibiotic usage on farm, improvements must be made regarding the identification and treatment of this disease. Screening for subclinical mastitis has routinely been done using total milk somatic cell counts at the composite level, where milk from all four quarters is pooled into a single vial. This sampling technique is convenient and economical, however little research has been done on its efficacy in identifying subclinically infected animals as compared to quarter sampling.