Breakthrough allows earlier mastitis detection

A specific temperature pattern has been identified that indicates early onset of mastitis, which could enhance dairy cow welfare and reduce economic losses for farmers.

Group of black and white dairy cows grazing on grass in a field

The new ‘level zero’ standard for mastitis detection has been identified by the developers behind the smaXtec advanced health system.

Using the measurements of inner body temperature generated by smaXtec’s health monitoring boluses, the company has identified three rapid temperature increases over a short period is associated with early onset mastitis.

The discovery has been described as a “major step” in proactively tackling one of the dairy sector’s costliest diseases. It’s estimated that the loss of milk production, associated veterinary costs and premature culling costs £334 per case of mastitis, according to the Kingshay Dairy Costings Focus report.

The level zero classification, the lowest in severity, is described as inflammation already being present but with a normal-appearing mammary gland and visibly normal milk.

Data also shows that a cow’s inner body temperature increases up to four days before clinical symptoms of mastitis become visible (Adams AE et al, 2013).

Until now, it’s been considered good practice to detect and treat mastitis from level one. But, if you can identify mastitis at level zero before the somatic cell count (SCC) reaches pathological levels, it gives producers the ability to administer a preventative treatment, smaXtec says.

someone holding a phone with the smaXtec cow health app running, with dairy cows pictured in the background of the photo.

“By detecting mastitis at level zero using our award-winning technology, dairy farmers will experience routinely healthier cows, consistently higher milk yields, less antibiotic usage and, ultimately, less dumped milk – saving both time and money. It’s win win,” claims the company’s global sales director, Chris Howarth.

smaXtec says those using its boluses report a 55% reduction in antibiotic usage for mastitis cases within the first few months of using the bolus technology. Longer-term customers report antibiotic reduction up to 70%.

Managing a herd of 650 cows, Cornish farmer, Bill Jewell introduced the health system in 2021 and says that mastitis outcomes have improved significantly.

“Since installing smaXtex, I honestly can’t say that we’ve had any prequartered cows from having mastitis. There has not been a case that we’ve missed,” he says.

© Farmers Guide 2024. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use Privacy Policy

Website Design by Unity Online

We have moved!

We’ve now moved to our new office in Stowmarket. If you wish to contact us please use our new address:

Unit 3-4 Boudicca Road, Suffolk Central Business Park, Stowmarket, IP14 1WF

Thank you,

The Farmers Guide Team