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Investigation of differential somatic cell count as a potential new supplementary indicator to somatic cell count for identification of intramammary infection in dairy cows at the end of the lactation period

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The objective of this study was to investigate the new differential somatic cell count (DSCC) as a supplementary indicator to SCC for the identification of intramammary infection (IMI) in dairy cows at the end of the lactation period. Different approaches for identification of cows with IMI (i.e. often based on SCC) and targeted antimicrobial treatment of those rather than of all cows have been developed (i.e. selective dry cow treatment). Recently, DSCC representing the proportion of polymorphonuclear neutrophils and lymphocytes, has been introduced as an additional indicator for the presence of IMI. We used the last dairy herd improvement (DHI) samples taken within 42 d prior to dry-off as well as hand-stripped samples collected within 5 days prior to dryoff to measure DSCC and SCC. The bacteriological status was determined using quarter foremilk samples collected close to drying off. In total, 582 cows were dried off during our study but not all of them could be included in the data analysis for different reasons (e.g. incomplete data, samples too old for reliable determination of SCC and DSCC, contamination). Eventually, the final data set comprised of 310 cows of which 64 and 149 were infected with major and minor pathogens, respectively, and 97 were uninfected. The area under receiver-operating characteristics curves (AUC) were calculated to compare the diagnostic abilities of the different parameters. The AUC for identification of IMI by major pathogens when using the combination of DSCC and SCC was 0.64 compared to 0.62 for SCC alone and 0.62 for DSCC alone. The different parameters were further compared based on test characteristics and predictive values. For example, classifying cows as infected based on a cut-off of 200,000 cells/ml for SCC alone and in terms of using DSCC combined with SCC based on either > 60% and/or > 200,000 cells/ml, the sensitivity changed from 47 to 66% and the specificity from 74 to 54%. At the same time, the negative predictive value changed from 84 to 86% and the positive predictive value from 32 to 27%. Test characteristics and predictive values of the parameters DSCC and SCC were similar using DHI and handstripped samples. In conclusion, our study provides first indications on test characteristics and predictive values for the combination of DSCC and SCC. However, more work on this subject and the actual practical application is needed.
ISSN: 0167-5877
Volume: 172
Publication year:2019
BOF-publication weight:6
Authors from:Higher Education