Today we want to share a few tips to ensure you get the best value for the hard work and dollars you put towards testing your animals.
Sampling is the most important step of the pathogen identification process.
So, we need to be particularly fussy about ASEPTIC conditions when sampling. It is all about improving cleanliness and lowering contamination risks.

AgResearch (Ruakura Animal Research Station,1982), has shown in one study conducted in New Zealand that using shared equipment such as clusters to sample milk has a major adverse effect:

Having one contaminated teat resulted in exposing ALL the teats to significant concentration of bacteria for at least the next 4 cows using the same cluster.
If you have suspicion of Staph. aureus in your herd and testing for it, it is even more critical to follow a proper ASEPTIC sampling procedure.

You would not want to mistake a clean cow for a Staph. cow or vice versa.

As mastitis management and diagnostic specialists, we encourage you to follow the best practices we use every day.

Duncan Thorpe, Laboratory Manager
Your Results. Do Not Trust any Other Method for Your Mastitis Testing
Using An Aseptic Sampling Process is Key to Trust Your Results

Proper Aseptic Sampling Technique

Here are a few simple milk sampling steps to minimize contamination risks so you can trust your results:

  1. Always make sure that people touching cows are wearing gloves and that they disinfect them between cows.
  2. Teat spray the teat thoroughly with teat disinfectant.
  3. Strip the foremilk.
  4. Disinfect the cow’s teat end with alcohol wipes.
  5. Take your milk sample directly into a sterile vial.

Important Note 1:

Sharing equipment like clusters or milk lines to collect samples increases the risk of milk contamination and can result in incorrect identification.

A single drop is all it takes to ruin your sample!

Important Note 2:

No matter how much milk is flowed through, it is impossible to guarantee that a shared milk line is contamination-free and not harbouring some level of milk and bacteria from previous cows. Rubber deteriorates over time and tiny cracks form, compounding the issue as milk lines age.