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Bovine mastitis

The biggest impact on dairy cow productivity

The costliest infectious disease of adult dairy cattle

No rapid diagnosis available to identify the bacterial cause

A significant Animal welfare burden

A major driver of antibiotic resistance


Mastitis is inflammation of the mammary gland and udder tissue, most commonly caused by bacteria, resulting in a drop in milk quality and volume as well as potentially systemic disease. Mastitis can reduce the lifespan of dairy cattle, negatively impact on their welfare, costs the farmer money and contributes to the overuse of antimicrobials. Clinical signs include:

  • Redness of the udder

  • Swelling

  • Heat

  • Hardness

  • Pain

  • Systemic illness

  • Pus

  • Blood

  • Clots

Cow udder

The cause

Over 200 pathogens have been identified which can cause mastitis but approximately 5-7 of these are routinely identified and account for more than 80% of infections.

Antibiotic resistance

When mastitis is suspected, a milk sample should ideally be collected and sent to a diagnostic lab to determine the cause, which can be any one of several pathogens. The appropriate antibiotic, should one be needed, can then be administered. In reality, due to the risk of the disease progressing during the turnaround time of up to 7 days to receive results from the lab, cows typically receive antibiotic treatment as soon as mastitis is suspected, without any pathogen diagnosis being performed. Use of the wrong antibiotic can lead to progression of the infection and spread to other animals and drives antibiotic resistance.

How Biotangents are tackling mastitis

The diagnostic test we are developing, usable on-farm and giving results before the next milking cycle, is desperately needed to guide antibiotic use. Biotangents' AmpliSpec™ VET system will allow the accurate diagnosis of mastitis on site, with results before the next milking cycle, allowing the most appropriate management decisions to be implemented in a timely manner.

For laboratory sample testing, AmpliSpec™ LAB allows PCR-quality testing to be conducted without the cost of equipment or technical complexities. This offers a more cost-effective high throughput diagnostic solution regardless of laboratory complexity.

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