Why Species Matter

Udder Health Systems has maintained a long term commitment to providing state of the art dairy diagnostic products and services. As part of this commitment, we remain convinced that there are times in our industry when we can provide significant additional value to our laboratory customers by determining species differentiation. Udder Health Systems believes that this is the case for Mycoplasma testing on cow milk.

Since the 1970’s the dairy industry has recognized that Mycoplasma mastitis presents a significant threat to dairy management with its alarming clinical mastitis rates, as well as expensive and cumbersome disease control requirements. Added to this threat was the annoying inevitability that standard culture detection is slow (7-10 days incubation) and can produce “False Positives” in the form of the contaminant organism Acholeplasma. The Udder Health Systems Molecular Diagnostics Services now resolves these concerns, with a full spectrum of rapid PCR based Mycoplasma detection, confirmation and species identification methods.

This service is available to veterinarians, dairy consultants, or dairymen who wish to submit milk samples to UHS to look for Mycoplasma. It also available to other diagnostic laboratories who wish to use this as an out-lab service where “positive” culture plates or milk samples may be submitted for rapid testing. When submitting these samples, please select from our submission form, one of the following Test Codes:

Mycoplasma Confirmation. This test service is our standard mycoplasma agar culture confirmation service, to distinguish true positive Mycoplasma spp. from the “false positive” Acholeplasma spp. Gone are the days of phoning out a culture “positive” cow, and then waiting a week for “True Positive” confirmation. Most of our customers now request automatic confirmation on all myco agar growth so that we can eliminate “false positive” reporting. This test will also identify if the isolate is one of the six most common mastitis causing species: M. bovis, M. bovigenitalium, M. californicum, M. canadense, M. arginini, M. alkalesens. If these plates are in the laboratory in the morning, the confirmed result is available the same day.

Mycoplasma Cow PCR. This service allows for “same day” detection of Mycoplasma in individual cow milk samples. This milk test dramatically reduces the time it takes to detect Mycoplasma in suspect clinical mastitis cows.

Mycoplasma Bulk Tank PCR. The same service used for cow milk samples but in bulk tanks, delivering a “same day” confirmed result from milk with no false positives. This test has proven very popular for fast detection of high shedding positive cows in group samples (“pooled” hospital milk) and in-line string samples where one would like to quickly follow up with individual cow testing if a group sample is PCR Myco positive. This rapid targeting system is used as part of a strategy to find “hot” cows quickly and dramatically lower the cost of Myco flare ups by getting high shedding cows out of the dairy as soon as possible. It is also a component of all of the Gold Standard UHS Bulk Tank Culture services.