Scent dogs used as diagnostic tool in mastitis detection

It’s not often that you hear a speaker at a cattle health congress talk primarily about dogs, but that’s just what German researcher Carola Fischer-Tenhagen did. Surprisingly, the crowd at the World Buiatrics Congress, held in Dublin, Ireland, didn’t boo her of the stage. Rather, they listened attentively as what she had to say was both new and intriguing.


Diagnosis of clinical mastitis is fairly straightforward these days, but identifying the specific pathogens that cause the disease can be challenging. “Even having on-farm culturing systems, it takes at least 2 hours,” pointed out Fischer-Tenhagen. “So this puts us in the dilemma of still feeding cows antibiotics without exactly knowing what pathogen we are fighting against.”

Why do we do this, she asked. Because the success of the treatment depends on how early we start.

In a study conducted at Hanover University in Germany, Fischer-Tenhagen and her team wanted to prove that

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