Microbiology, MALDI-TOF, Microbiome and more: How to understand and use diagnostic tests to improve udder health


  • Pamela L. Ruegg College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI 48824




mastitis, dairy, udder health, milk quality


Determining an appropriate intervention after intramammary infection depends on an accurate diagnosis, but there are a bewildering variety of tests that can be used to detect mastitis and determine etiology. Traditional microbiological tests rely on phenotypic and/or biochemical methods to identify bacteria but more accurate identification is achieved using newer meth­ods such as Maldi-Tof which often results in a confusing array of unfamiliar bacterial names. Non-culture-based methods such as PCR are increasingly affordable but have both strengths and limitations that need to be acknowledged when making management decisions. Other technologies, such as determina­tion of the milk microbiome have unfamiliar terminology and methods that require explanation before used to make deci­sions about handling mastitis cases. In this presentation the methods and clinical implications of using traditional microbi­ology and farm based or laboratory based molecular methods to diagnose mastitis will be discussed with emphasis on practi­cal decision making.