Sensitivity and specificity analysis for somatic cell count (SCC) used to predict bacteriologically positive subclinical mastitis at calving in a dairy herd with low SCC

John H. Kirk From the Department of Large Animal Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849 (Kirk); 14177 Market St, Ste E, Walnut Grove, CA 95690 (Reynolds); and the Animal Science Extension (Berry, Ahmadi) and Veterinary Medical Extension (Maas), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Stephen L. Berry From the Department of Large Animal Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849 (Kirk); 14177 Market St, Ste E, Walnut Grove, CA 95690 (Reynolds); and the Animal Science Extension (Berry, Ahmadi) and Veterinary Medical Extension (Maas), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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James P. Reynolds From the Department of Large Animal Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849 (Kirk); 14177 Market St, Ste E, Walnut Grove, CA 95690 (Reynolds); and the Animal Science Extension (Berry, Ahmadi) and Veterinary Medical Extension (Maas), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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John P. Maas From the Department of Large Animal Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849 (Kirk); 14177 Market St, Ste E, Walnut Grove, CA 95690 (Reynolds); and the Animal Science Extension (Berry, Ahmadi) and Veterinary Medical Extension (Maas), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abbas Ahmadi From the Department of Large Animal Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849 (Kirk); 14177 Market St, Ste E, Walnut Grove, CA 95690 (Reynolds); and the Animal Science Extension (Berry, Ahmadi) and Veterinary Medical Extension (Maas), University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Objective

Validate, by sensitivity and specificity analyses, use of somatic cell count (SCC) to predict bacteriologically positive subclinical mastitis in a California dairy herd with low SCC.

Design

Study of monthly dairy herd improvement SCC obtained from the immediate preceding lactation and individual cow composite milk sample microbiologic isolates collected at calving.

Animals

515 California dairy cows with SCC and culture data.

Procedure

Somatic cell count sensitivity and specificity analyses with combinations of SCC parameter and at various thresholds were done, using the bacterial isolates as the standard.

Results

Combination of SCC threshold and SCC parameters could not be developed that had sufficient sensitivity and specificity to be a useful predictor of cows that would calve with subclinical mastitis.

Clinical Implication

Under the conditions at this particular dairy, SCC could not be used as a basis of prediction of cows that would calve with bacteriologically positive subclinical mastitis or require selective nonlactating-cow antibiotic treatment. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1054–1057)

Objective

Validate, by sensitivity and specificity analyses, use of somatic cell count (SCC) to predict bacteriologically positive subclinical mastitis in a California dairy herd with low SCC.

Design

Study of monthly dairy herd improvement SCC obtained from the immediate preceding lactation and individual cow composite milk sample microbiologic isolates collected at calving.

Animals

515 California dairy cows with SCC and culture data.

Procedure

Somatic cell count sensitivity and specificity analyses with combinations of SCC parameter and at various thresholds were done, using the bacterial isolates as the standard.

Results

Combination of SCC threshold and SCC parameters could not be developed that had sufficient sensitivity and specificity to be a useful predictor of cows that would calve with subclinical mastitis.

Clinical Implication

Under the conditions at this particular dairy, SCC could not be used as a basis of prediction of cows that would calve with bacteriologically positive subclinical mastitis or require selective nonlactating-cow antibiotic treatment. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1054–1057)

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