Accurate identification of mastitis-causing bacteria supports effective management and can be used to implement selective use of antimicrobials for treatment. The objectives of this study were to compare the results from a culture-based mastitis pathogen detection test kit (‘VetoRapid’, Vétoquinol) with standard laboratory culture and to evaluate the potential suitability of the test kit to inform a selective treatment programme. Overall 231 quarter milk samples from five UK dairy farms were collected. The sensitivity and specificity of the test kit for the identification of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci, Streptococcus uberis and Enterococcus spp. ranged from 17 per cent to 84 per cent and 92 per cent to 98 per cent, respectively. In total, 23 of 68 clinical samples were assigned as meeting the requirement for antimicrobial treatment (Gram-positive organism cultured) according to standard culture results, with the test kit results having sensitivity and specificity of 91 per cent and 78 per cent, respectively. Several occurrences of misidentification are reported, including S. aureus being misidentified as coagulase-negative staphylococci and vice versa. The test kit provides rapid preliminary identification of five common causes of bovine mastitis under UK field conditions and is likely to be suitable for informing selective treatment of clinical mastitis caused by Gram-positive organisms.
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