On-farm test identifies best mastitis antibiotic

On-farm test identifies best mastitis antibiotic


In just 24 hours, dairy farmers can now identify the best antibiotic for each mastitis case with the rapid on-farm Mastaplex test on show at evokeAg this week.


In just 24 hours, dairy farmers can now identify the best antibiotic for each mastitis case with a rapid on-farm test on show at evokeAg this week.

Mastaplex's diagnostic tool, Mastatest, comprises an incubator and vials preloaded with different types of antibiotics.

The farmer takes a sample of milk from the infected cow, fills a vial and places it in the incubator.

A mobile app sends the results to farmers and their vets 24 hours later.

It identifies the strain of mastitis present in the sample and how effective each of the antibiotics were in killing the pathogen.

Four main types of mastitis can be identified, including Streptococcus uberis, Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase negative Staphylococcus, and Coliform (gram-) bacteria (such as E. Coli, Klebsiella).

Clinical validation trials showed the accuracy of Mastatest's results were equivalent to those of traditional laboratory cultures, Mastaplex chief executive Dr Olaf Bork said.

The speed of the test meant farmers could cure infected cows faster and more effectively.

"The earlier you get your samples tested, find something and treat it appropriately, the higher your cure rate," Dr Bork said.

"If you send a sample to the lab, it takes three to five days before you get a result.

"You wouldn't wait that long from an animal welfare perspective, so you would treat with antibiotic 1 but that might not be the right one.

"It's often not the right one and you have to treat your cows two or three times in around 40 per cent of the cases because you don't know what you're treating.

"But with Mastatest, you begin treatment immediately with the right antibiotics.

"That means there's only one milk withholding time and the cows can go back to producing high quality milk earlier.

"You get higher cure rates, clear up cases faster and have lower costs."

Farmers could preselect three antibiotics per vial and each vial had a 12-month shelf life.

The system also identified cases where there was no infection.

"In 20pc of cases there is no infection despite inflammation - because of mechanical damage or there's a lot of milk in the udder or other scenarios - that does not need antibiotic treatment," Dr Bork said.

"You know when to treat or not to treat and that means less cost for farmers and less risk of antimicrobial resistance."

Dr Bork said the Mastaplex system was affordable for farms of all sizes.

The incubator costs approximately $1000 and each test $20.

Mastaplex was released in Australia in June last year.


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