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Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research

On-line version ISSN 2219-0635
Print version ISSN 0030-2465

Onderstepoort j. vet. res. vol.75 n.4 Pretoria  2008




Value of tests for evaluating udder health in dairy goats: Somatic cell counts, California Milk Cell Test and electrical conductivity



I.M. PetzerI; E.F. DonkinII; E. Du PreezI; J. KarzisI; T.J. Van der SchansI; J.C. WatermeyerI; R. van ReenenI

IDepartment of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa
IIDepartment of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, 0002 South Africa




The value of electric conductivity (EC), California Milk Cell Test (CMCT) and somatic cell count (SCC) as diagnostic tools was investigated in dairy goats. Conductivity colour reading correlated with SCC. Milk samples with conductivity colour red had significantly higher SCC than those with conductivity colours green and orange (P < 0.001). There were moderate positive correlations between CMCT (R2 = 0.470), and conductivity score and CMCT and conductivity colour readings (R2 = 0.597). Conductivity scores were significantly (P < 0.001) higher during and after intra-mammary treatment with Cloxamast LC and conductivity colours were significantly different between treatment and control groups (P < 0.001). There was a weak positive correlation between conductivity colour and stage of lactation (R2 = 0.317) and a moderately positive correlation between conductivity score and stage of lactation (R2 = 0.523). A moderately negative correlation was shown between milk yield and conductivity score (R2 = -0.426) and between milk yield and conductivity colour (R2 = -0.433).
Moderate positive correlations were present between CMCT and SCC (R2 = 0.689) and between CMCT and stage of lactation (R2 = 0.459). CMCT ratings were significantly different (P < 0.001) for the intra-mammary treatment groups. CMCT ratings for infected and non-infected udder halves (P = 0.008) were significantly different; as were those for infected and non-infected udder halves and for left and right udder halves separately (P = 0.010). CMCT ratings for milk samples with SCC above and below 750 x 103 cells per ml were significantly different (P < 0.001) as well as for milk from treated and control udder halves with SCC below or above 750 x 103 cells per ml(P < 0.001). CMCT was found to be more accurate for indicating the absence of mastitis than for diagnosing it.
There were significant differences in log SCC between treatment and control groups, during and after treatment. Infected udder halves had significantly higher log SCC than non-infected udder halves before and after treatment, but not during treatment. There was a moderate positive correlation between stage of lactation and SCC (R2 = 0.438).

Keywords: CMCT, dairy goats, electric conductivity, mastitis, SCC, tissue tolerance



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Accepted for publication 10 June 2008-Editor



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