Mastitis is the most costly disease affecting dairy cattle in first world countries around the globe. It is an inflammation of the udder, mainly caused by bacterial infection. Mastitis changes the composition and decreases the quality of milk produced by affected cows and also causes damage to the cow’s udder. More than 80% of losses due to mastitis are caused by an unseen, or so-called subclinical, infection that can only be diagnosed in a laboratory and not in the milking parlour. This makes the disease difficult to control. While mastitis has potentially devastating effects, it can be controlled through effective farm management.
The small-staffed, but highly efficient Milk Laboratory, part of the Department of Production Animal Studies in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria (UP), is the go-to place for nearly half of the commercial dairy farmers in South Africa when they require diagnostic services relating to udder health in dairy cows. Thanks to its unique approach when it comes to ensuring udder health, as well as its meticulous administration and training offerings, the Milk Laboratory has earned the respect of farmers, the government and the international research community.
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