Author(s): Hovinen M, Siivonen J, Taponen S, Hnninen L, Pastell M,
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Abstract Increasing dairy farm size and increase in automation in livestock production require that new methods are used to monitor animal health. In this study, a thermal camera was tested for its capacity to detect clinical mastitis. Mastitis was experimentally induced in 6 cows with 10 microg of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The LPS was infused into the left forequarter of each cow, and the right forequarters served as controls. Clinical examination for systemic and local signs and sampling for indicators of inflammation in milk were carried out before morning and evening milking throughout the 5-d experimental period and more frequently on the challenge day. Thermal images of experimental and control quarters were taken at each sampling time from lateral and medial angles. The first signs of clinical mastitis were noted in all cows 2 h postchallenge and included changes in general appearance of the cows and local clinical signs in the affected udder quarter. Rectal temperature, milk somatic cell count, and electrical conductivity were increased 4 h postchallenge and milk N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase activity 8 h postchallenge. The thermal camera was successful in detecting the 1 to 1.5 degrees C temperature change on udder skin associated with clinical mastitis in all cows because temperature of the udder skin of the experimental and control quarters increased in line with the rectal temperature. Yet, local signs on the udder were seen before the rise in udder skin and body temperature. The udder represents a sensitive site for detection of any febrile disease using a noninvasive method. A thermal camera mounted in a milking or feeding parlor could detect temperature changes associated with clinical mastitis or other diseases in a dairy herd.
This article was published in J Dairy Sci
and referenced in Agrotechnology