Mycoplasma bacteria can cause devastating infections in cattle including pneumonia, drooped ears, and lameness. Mycoplasma is also a major cause of mastitis, which can pass from cow to cow through contact with milk from infected animals during the milking process. The infection can be spread from bacteria inside mechanical milking units or during routine udder preparation. Calves can also become infected through drinking milk from infected mothers.1
The effects of Mycoplasma infection can be far reaching. Milk from infected animals cannot be sold due to its altered composition. Because there is no effective antibiotic treatment for Mycoplasma, infected cattle must be immediately removed from the herd and either segregated from unaffected animals or culled.2
The ability to quickly identify Mycoplasma infections can minimize the financial loss of a large-scale outbreak. Thermo Fisher Scientific has recently launched a rapid PCR-based test known as the PathoProofTM Mycoplasma-8 assay. Using a small sample of milk, this test can determine if Mycoplasma is present in a sample and the the particular Mycoplasma species causing the infection.
PathoProof and other DNA-based PCR tests work by amplifying DNA of both live and dead bacteria, enabling the test to detect small amounts bacteria that may be present in the milk sample. As a result of the ease and accuracy of DNA-based PCR tests, this strategy of testing is quickly becoming common in Northern Europe, as well as in the United States.3
The Benitz dairy farm of Maiden Rock, WI knows first-hand how stressful it can be to deal with a Mycoplasma outbreak.4 The family-owned farm had recently expanded their herd of cows when they discovered their animals were infected with the bacteria. Through the use of DNA-based PCR testing, they quickly and effectively identified which cattle were shedding Mycoplasma before the milk production could be affected.
Q1: How can PathoProof improve herd heath and productivity?
PathoProof provides vital information that can prevent a Mycoplasma infection from spiraling out of control. Unlike traditional culturing that can take 10 days or more, PathoProof Mycoplasma-8 assay achieves accurate results in less than 4 hours.
Q2: What are the benefits of PathoProof?
The main benefit of using PathoProof is the ability to rapidly make decisions regarding the best course of treatment. Farmers can use PathoProof to determine which animals need to be removed from the herd, thereby minimizing a potentially devastating financial loss. PathoProof can be repeated on a routine basis or used if Mycoplasma infection is suspected.
Q3: What type of milk can be tested using PathoProof?
PathoProof can be used with both fresh and preserved milk samples. Samples from bulk milk tanks can be tested, as well as samples from individual animals.
Q4: Can PathoProof performed in the field?
No, PathoProof must be performed in a laboratory setting. This helps prevent environmental contamination during sample processing.
Learn more about rapid PCR based Mycoplasma testing and the PathoProof range at Thermoscientific.com
1. Currin, John et al. “Mycoplasma in Dairy Cattle” Virginia State University Cooperative Extension, Publications and Educational Resources
2. Jayarao, B., Hovingh, E., & Wolfgang, D. “Mycoplasma: What is the Significance and How to Identify it in Herds.” Penn State Cooperative Extension: College of Agricultural Sciences. Extension, Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
3. Hassinger, J. & Johnson, J.“DNA testing helps pinpoint mastitis cause”, Hoard’s Dairyman, January 10, 2015, Copyright 2014 by W. D. Hoard and Sons Company, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
4. “Tell Me More New milk quality management tool screens for mastitis DNA” Dairmen’s Digest, May-June 2014