Are you aware of the key role that a good diagnostic plan plays in the milk quality of your farms?
A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to attend to a session with Jaime Maldonado, head of diagnostic services at HIPRA. In keeping with the aim of the sessions, Jaime was very direct and he addressed some key aspects about diagnostics.
During the session with Jaime Maldonado, the importance of knowing the “why” was discussed…
Why is it important to define objectives when we design a diagnostic plan?
We can talk about objectives characterised by legal aspects such as animal welfare, reduction of the use of antibiotics…, but there are also economic objectives, such as the reduction of the cost of cases of mastitis: A good diagnostic plan will help us to direct our actions against specific pathogens and to analyse whether or not they are effective.
Today there are a great many diagnostic methods available on the market, but …
How do we know which one to choose on the basis of our objectives?
To be able to answer this question, during the session Jaime reviewed and compared the most widely used methods and explained how they complement each other.
And remember! A good method of diagnosis should always be accompanied by an appropriate sampling plan and, even more importantly, it must generate data that can be worked with and analysed.
“A good diagnostic plan will help us to better direct our actions in the process of controlling a pathogen and in carrying out appropriate follow-up.”
Should we use cultures or PCR?
This is not the right question – the right question should be What procedure should we use on our farms to gain the maximum benefit from the synergies between bacterial cultures and PCR?
After a comparison of the limitations and benefits of each method, Jaime settled a recurring question for us: do the results of a culture correlate with those of a PCR test?
Using an example, Jaime showed us that in the case of Staph. aureus, E. coli and CNS (coagulase Negative Staphylococci) there was a robust correlation between the two methods.
Even so, bacteriology was still sensitive to the bacterial concentration in the sample, whilst some PCR tests gave negative results because of the presence of precursors of PCR inhibitors that occur naturally in milk.
Watch the video of the whole session and find the answers to your questions about the diagnosis of mastitis!