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Dealing with a dairy herd with an elevated bulk milk somatic cell count

  • Kolkman, Iris
  • De Vliegher, Sarne
  • De Schauwer, Catharina
  • Opsomer, Geert
  • de Kruif, Aart
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2006
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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In this case report an approach to dealing with a herd with a high bulk milk somatic cell count is described. By the time the farmer requested help, the situation had already become so serious that the delivery of milk had been prohibited for two weeks. Bacteriological examination of the milk revealed that some cows were infected with major pathogens and that many cows were infected with Corynebacterium bovis and/or coagulase-negative staphylococci. On the basis of these results and the results of the dynamic measurement of the milking machine, a plan of action was outlined. This strategy consisted of an adjustment of the milking machine, an improvement of the milking technique and the treatment with antibiotics of a number of cows. After the initial treatment, the bulk milk somatic cell count remained too high. Subsequently, cows with an elevated individual somatic cell count were again sampled for bacteriological culture. Positive cows were treated and some eventually culled. Finally, the general udder health improved and the bulk milk somatic cell count decreased to an acceptable level.

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