Evaluation of hand-held sodium, potassium, calcium, and electrical conductivity meters for diagnosing subclinical mastitis and intramammary infection in dairy cattle

Sahar A. Kandeel, Ameer A. Megahed, Peter D. Constable

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Subclinical mastitis (SCM) and intramammary infection (IMI) increase the sodium (Na) concentration and electrical conductivity (EC) and decrease the potassium (K) and calcium (Ca) concentrations in glandular secretions of lactating dairy cattle. Hypothesis: Low-cost portable Na, K, Ca, and EC meters are clinically useful cow-side tests for diagnosing SCM and IMI. Animals: One hundred fifteen dairy cows at dry off and 92 cows within 4-7 days postcalving. Methods: Quarter foremilk samples were obtained and the somatic cell count (SCC) was measured using a DeLaval cell counter with SCM defined as SCC ≥ 200 000 cells/mL. Microbiological culture of foremilk samples was used to diagnose IMI. Cisternal milk Na, K, and Ca concentrations and EC were measured using portable ion-selective meters. Logistic regression was used to determine the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and the optimal cut point was determined using Youden's index. Diagnostic test performance was evaluated by comparing the AUC and calculating the sensitivity, specificity, and positive likelihood ratio (+LR) at the optimal cut point for SCM and IMI. Results: Diagnostic test performance was much better when the meters were used to diagnose SCM as compared to IMI. Cisternal milk Na concentration provided the most accurate method for identifying quarters with SCM or IMI. However, AUC was <0.90 and +LR was <10 for all diagnostic test evaluations. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Cisternal milk Na, K, and Ca concentrations and EC were not sufficiently predictive of SCM or IMI to be recommended as clinically useful diagnostic tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2343-2353
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • ion-selective potentiometry
  • likelihood ratio
  • mastitis
  • somatic cell count

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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