Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Increased blood flow and temperature may accompany initial immune response to a mastitic infection. The objective of this study was to determine whether infrared (IR) thermography could aid in early detection of mastitis by identifying these symptoms. Six multiparous, late- lactation cows were kept in a tie stall barn for 9 days and milked separately from herdmates at 0600 and 1700. One forequarter of each of 4 cows was randomly selected and infused on d 5 with 450 cfu of S. AUREUS (Newbould). Infrared thermographs were taken from 1.5 m of each fore quarter and the rear quarters every .5 h for 2 h before and after each milking on all 9 d. A black body temperature standard was used to calibrate IR temperatures (IRT) before, amid, and after each series of images. Environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure) were recorded to provide additional IR correction. Rectal temperatures (RT) and bacteriological cultures were collected at scheduled days and times for mastitis detection using conventional methods. Challenged quarters were infused with cephaperine sodium upon observation of clinical mastitis, or on d 9. Three of four challenged cows developed clinical mastitis (X2=3, p=.08, DF=1) although positive S. AUREUS cultures and elevated RT were noted only in two. Overall, patterns of IRT correlated to RT (r=.58, t =52.5, p<.001), but varied among quarters. IRT increases accompanied elevated somatic cell scores in challenged quarters (r=.33, t=2.04, p<.05), but not in other quarters (r=-.33, t=-4.13, p<.001). Results show IRT can detect elevated temperatures associated with mastitis, but are unlikely to detect mastitis earlier or be more cost effective than existing methods.