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Evaluation of measurements of the conductivity of quarter milk samples for the early diagnosis of mastitis
  1. H. J. Biggadike, BSc1,
  2. I. Ohnstad, BSc1,
  3. R. A. Laven, BVetMed, PhD,MRCVS1 and
  4. J. E. Hillerton, BSc, PhD1
  1. 1 ADAS Bridgets, Martyr Worthy, Winchester S021 IAP


Measurements of the conductivity of quarter milk samples were made in 31 cows in a 70-cow herd in southeast England, for a period of 15 weeks. Over this period, 42 per cent of cow-weeks and 20 per cent of quarter-weeks had an increase in quarter milk conductivity of 10 per cent of more compared with the mean conductivity of the previous 14 milkings. Fourteen per cent of quarter-weeks had an increase in conductivity of 15 per cent or more. The geometric mean somatic cell count (cell count) was higher in quarter-weeks with a 10 per cent or greater increase in conductivity than in quarter-weeks with a conductivity change of less than 10 per cent. At a conductivity threshold of 10 or 15 per cent and a cell count threshold of 200,000 or 400,000 cells/ml the specificity of this system was estimated to be 85 to 92 per cent, the sensitivity 40 to 54 per cent, the negative predictive value 87 to 93 per cent and the positive predictive value 33 to 55 per cent. The positive predictive value of the individual quarter milk conductivity was insufficiently accurate to be used as the sole criterion for the selection of quarters for early antibiotic treatment.

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