ABSTRACT: Mastitis is a persistent, inflammatory reaction of the udder tissue, which entails a decline in potassium, and is also responsible for a higher somatic cell count (SCC) and electrical conductivity (EC) of milk. The measurement of EC is an indirect, rapid method to detect subclinical mastitis from milk. The aim of this study was to analyse the EC of milk throughout the lactation, around the day of mastitis detection, and also to estimate its heritability based on data from a large-scale dairy farm. Shortly after calving the EC value generally decreases; however, it was discovered that from the thirteenth week onwards, substantial differences arise between the mastitic and healthy groups of cows. The authors observed a significant (P < 0.001) increase in EC before the detection of clinical mastitis. This higher value (around 11 mS) persisted for 4 days, then it gradually returned to the normal level. The EC of milk from daughters sired by different bulls responded differently in case of mastitis. The heritability of EC seems to be high (h2 = 0.56). Therefore, the EC trait can be a beneficial indicator in detecting mastitis and should be considered in sire selection.
Acta Veterinaria Hungarica 03/2012; 60(1):145-55. · 0.67 Impact Factor