Somatic cell count (SCC) is a key measurement for understanding the status of a cow’s udder health, including the prevalence and incidence of subclinical mastitis. Intramammary infection (IMI) significantly influences milk SCC.
Scientific literature1 reports that if SCC exceeds 200,000 cell/mL, it is a strong indication of IMI. Therefore, assessing monthly SCC is a strategic management tool for resolving increased bulk tank SCC (BTSCC).
As documented in the Hoard’s Dairyman webinar held in October 20202, sometimes milk cultures test negative. This commonly occurs because the immune system of a cow has reduced the infecting microorganisms below normal lab detection limits.
It should be noted that increased SCC can also be caused by non-bacterial disorders affecting the udder tissue as a result of changes in environmental conditions, nutritional disorders, stressful conditions, microtraumas, and so forth.
Unfortunately, compromised mammary tissue is more susceptible to bacteria colonization. In a normally healthy udder, these bacteria would not cause major issues. Thus, it is important to evaluate the pattern of recently and chronically increased SCC values since it can be, at a herd-level, hugely indicative for the resolution of high BTSCC.
The signs of subclinical mastitis are clear: milk is high in SCC, but there are no observable changes at the cow, udder, and milk level.
Milk culture tests are useful for suggesting how to treat cows. However, chronically high SCC values in some cows are confusingly similar to those related to subclinical mastitis, but they are actually different.
In addition to high SCC scores for more than four months, these cows do not show clinical signs of mastitis, but they can relapse (if mastitis has occurred in previous lactations). Or, alternatively, they are multiparous and usually highly producing cows in late lactation (7 or 8 months after calving) with possible intramammary tissue stress.
In this case, antibiotic treatment would be totally ineffective because the SCC would immediately decrease under the threshold level (200,000 cell/mL), but then increase again after a few days because the teat tissue is still not improved.
Dealing with high SCC is hard work. Good mastitis management practices utilize a multidisciplinary approach focused on prevention and targeted actions for infected animals. And sometimes, when cows become chronically infected, the best option is culling.
But, is there any other option in addition to current practices, and before culling?
Yes, and it is called OZOLEA-MAST. OZOLEA designed this effective, non-drug veterinary product to keep high SCC at bay. Depending on the causes generating high SCC, OZOLEA-MAST allows the mammary tissue to autonomously regenerate, thus improving the teat’s ability to resist bacteria.
The result of tissue regeneration is a reduction in epithelial flaking (flaking cells) and a better defensive action against pathogens. This is due to better performance of the improved tissue condition.
Last, it is necessary to give the mammary tissue time to improve after the last application of OZOLEA-MAST before measuring SCC values 8 days later.
And the best news? OZOLEA-MAST allows you to continue shipping during use. Sell your milk, don’t waste it!
Please contact us to receive a complete OZOLEA-MAST product brochure: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1P.L. Ruegg, J.C.F. Pantoja Understanding and using somatic cell counts to improve milk quality, 2013, Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research 52: 101–117, 2013
2”Mastitis management through milk cultures” webinar presented by Mike Zurakowski, D.V.M., Quality Milk Production Services, hosted by Hoards Dairyman and sponsored by Ozolea – 12th October 2020