Somatic cell counts in bovine milk: relationships to production and clinical episodes of mastitis

Can J Comp Med. 1984 Apr;48(2):130-5.


The relationships between somatic cell counts, milk production and episodes of clinical mastitis were evaluated using data collected between 1979 and 1981 in 32 southern Ontario Holstein herds. Somatic cell counts were logarithmically transformed and the distribution of the resulting counts is presented. The seasonal pattern in cell counts was evaluated using a formal statistical procedure. Counts were lowest in the winter and spring and highest in the early fall but the differences amongst monthly geometric mean cell counts were small. Assuming a linear relationship between log somatic cell counts and test day milk production it was found that a unit increase in the log count resulted in a loss of 1.44 kg of milk. Regression analyses within specific log cell count ranges indicated that the previous estimate may underestimate losses at low cell counts and overestimate losses at higher cell counts. The relationships between cell counts and episodes of mild or acute clinical mastitis were evaluated by comparing counts preceding and following the clinical episodes to comparable counts in matched control cows. Mild cases of mastitis were preceded by higher cell counts than were found in control cows but the same phenomenon was not observed in acute cases of mastitis. Both mild and acute cases were followed by higher cell counts than were found in control cows.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Count / veterinary
  • Female
  • Lactation
  • Mastitis, Bovine* / metabolism
  • Mastitis, Bovine* / pathology
  • Milk / cytology*
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Seasons