Original Research

A cost-benefit model comparing the California Milk Cell Test and Milk Electrical Resistance Test

Inge-Marie Petzer, Joanne Karzis, Isabel A. Meyer, Theodorus J. van der Schans
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 80, No 1 | a538 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v80i1.538 | © 2013 Inge-Marie Petzer, Joanne Karzis, Isabel A. Meyer, Theodorus J. van der Schans | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 14 November 2012 | Published: 24 April 2013

About the author(s)

Inge-Marie Petzer, Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Joanne Karzis, Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Isabel A. Meyer, Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Theodorus J. van der Schans, Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The indirect effects of mastitis treatment are often overlooked in cost-benefit analyses, but it may be beneficial for the dairy industry to consider them. The cost of mastitis treatment may increase when the duration of intra-mammary infections are prolonged due to misdiagnosis of host-adapted mastitis. Laboratory diagnosis of mastitis can be costly and time consuming, therefore cow-side tests such as the California Milk Cell Test (CMCT) and Milk Electrical Resistance (MER) need to be utilised to their full potential. The aim of this study was to determine the relative benefit of using these two tests separately and in parallel. This was done using a partial-budget analysis and a cost-benefit model to estimate the benefits and costs of each respective test and the parallel combination thereof. Quarter milk samples (n= 1860) were taken from eight different dairy herds in South Africa. Milk samples were evaluated by means of the CMCT, hand-held MER meter and cyto-microbiological laboratory analysis. After determining the most appropriate cut-off points for the two cow-side tests, the sensitivity and specificity of the CMCT (Se= 1.00, Sp= 0.66), MER (Se= 0.92, Sp= 0.62) and the tests done in parallel (Se= 1.00, Sp= 0.87) were calculated. The input data that were used for partial-budget analysis and in the cost-benefit model were based on South African figures at the time of the study, and on literature. The total estimated financial benefit of correct diagnosis of host-adapted mastitis per cow for the CMCT, MER and the tests done in parallel was R898.73, R518.70 and R1064.67 respectively. This involved taking the expected benefit of a correct test result per cow, the expected cost of an error per cow and the cost of the test into account. The CMCT was shown to be 11%more beneficial than the MER test, whilst using the tests in parallel was shown to be the most beneficial method for evaluating the mastitis-control programme. Therefore, it is recommended that the combined tests should be used strategically in practice to monitor udder health and promote a pro-active udder health approach when dealing with host-adapted pathogens.

Keywords

CMCT; California milk cell test; Milk electrical resistance; Cost-benefit model

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Crossref Citations

1. A pathogen-specific approach towards udder health management in dairy herds: Using culture and somatic cell counts from routine herd investigations
Inge-Marié Petzer, Joanne Karzis, Edward F. Donkin, Edward C. Webb
Onderstepoort J Vet Res  vol: 83  issue: 1  year: 2016  
doi: 10.4102/ojvr.v83i1.1146