A study by Oregon State University researcher Dr. Gerd Bobe found that metabolites in the blood are able to identify whether or not early milk-producing cows are prone to mastitis. The study was designed to identify predictive serum indicators of periparturient diseases in dairy cows. The findings, said Dr. Bobe, could be used to develop a simple early-detection tool that would enable dairy farmers to identify cows that benefit from preventative treatment.
Dairy cows are most susceptible to naturally occurring clinical mastitis in the first weeks after calving. Infection, however, may also occur during the close-up period or around calving when milk samples are not available. While traditional studies focus on indicators in milk samples at the onset of clinical mastitis, including somatic cell count, serum proteins, enzymes, electrolytes, degradation products of milk proteins, and acute phase proteins, Dr. Bobe chose to take a metabolomics approach, since milk samples were not available.
Dr. Bobe, who is an associate professor at Oregon State University, studied 160 pregnant cows several weeks before they gave birth, and compared those that
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