CellCheck Newsletter APRIL 009 FINAL

CELLCHECK NEWS

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

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CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH

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NEWSLETTER CellCheck

SERVICE PROVIDER NOTES

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JANUARY EDITION 2015 AHI gratefully acknowledges the financial and other contributions of FBD, Teagasc, UCD and our other stakeholders to the CellCheck programme. AP IL

Animal Health Ireland, Main Street, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim. Tel: +353 (0) 71 9671928, Email: admin@animalhealthireland.ie www.animalhealthireland.ie

CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER

NEWS Finola McCoy, Programme Manager

FOLLOWING THE the success of the recent CellCheck Farmer Workshop with the students of the new WIT Level 8 Agricultural Science course, the workshop is being incorporated into the syllabus of the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Dairy) courses, as a pilot for 2015. There are currently 5 colleges nationwide with Level 6 students, and 7 workshops will be run before Easter to accommodate these students. The students of the Professional Diploma in Farm Management will also have the opportunity to participate in a workshop before the summer. The CellCheck team has been working with the Regional Coordinators and local service providers, to plan and deliver these workshops. The feedback to date has been very positive, from both the students and the college staff. It is also a great opportunity to promote CellCheck programme and its messages to new target audiences. I look forward to reviewing this pilot with the college tutors once complete-hopefully it will prove to be a valuable exercise and can become a regular event! Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Dairy) courses

Students from Pallaskenry Agricultural College who recently attended a CellCheck Workshop

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APRIL EDITION 2015

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Alan Johnson Senior Research Officer in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) Regional Veterinary Laboratory (RVL) in Limerick. 1

Getting the most out of milk cultures

MILK CULTURE is a valuable tool that can be used as part of a mastitis control programme. Bacterial infection is responsible for virtually all cases of mastitis (clinical and subclinical), and by identifying the agent responsible you possess important information about the possible source of infection (contagious or environmental) and where to focus your control measures to achieve success in improving milk quality. Microbiological culture of milk samples and antimicrobial sensitivity testing are amongst the tests offered by the six Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Regional Veterinary Laboratories (RVLs) (Figure 1) as part of the diagnostic service available. These and other similar tests (such as PCR) are also provided by many other private laboratories around the country.

Figure 1: Map of Ireland illustrating the location of each of the six Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Regional Veterinary Laboratories.

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER

The culture method used in all RVLs follows the same standard operating procedure. Four agar plates are inoculated with a sample of the milk under test (Figure 2) and are incubated aerobically at 37 o C for 24 hours. Suspect colonies are subcultured to produce pure cultures (Figure 3) and appropriate identification procedures are followed. Antimicrobial sensitivity testing is carried out using a disk diffusion method, the clearance zones around each antimicrobial disk are measured and the culture is categorised as either “sensitive” or “resistant” to that antimicrobial agent (Figure 4) . This information is useful when making a decision on treatment during lactation and at drying off, but is also useful for the laboratory in monitoring resistance patterns. All results are collated and reported to the veterinary practitioner nominated by the farmer or milk processor. There are typically two annual peaks in the numbers of samples received at the RVLs (Figure 5) . The first is in spring - individual quarter samples from clinical cases in the first two months of lactation. The second is in autumn- composite samples (milk from all four quarters) from sub-clinically infected cows (high somatic cell count cows identified at milk recording) in the run up to dry- off, when a decision is being made on appropriate dry cow therapy. Culturing milk samples costs money so it is important to get themaximumpossible value for the effort put in. Care taken in the sampling process, refrigeration and prompt delivery (or freezing in the event of delayed delivery) of the samples to the laboratory are very important steps to get right. The biggest problem the laboratories have year-on-year is with contamination at the time of sampling. This can happen very easily and is usually the result of bacteria getting into the sample from the milkers’ hands or from the skin on the teat or udder. It is also common when bulk tank samples are submitted as there are likely to be bacteria included from the cluster, milk line and bulk tank

Figure 2: Laboratory analyst preparing media plates for inoculation with a milk sample.

Figure 3: Pure culture of Staphylococcus aureus on a blood agar plate.

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APRIL EDITION 2015

itself. When this happens culture at the laboratory will result in the growth of a mixture of bacteria and it is not possible for the laboratory technician to identify the “significant” ones. 11.8 per cent of over 3,000 milk samples received in 2013 by the RVLs were considered to be contaminated. This percentage is reducing year-on-year through the building of awareness on proper sampling technique. Management Note A in the Cellcheck ‘Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control ’ gives a clear list of steps to be taken when collecting milk samples for culture. Some farmers have a routine of collecting and freezing a milk sample from every cow that develops clinical mastitis. These samples are stored and only submitted to the laboratory for culture if there is concern about a higher than expected mastitis rate within the herd. In such a situation the culture results can indicate a consistent cause and point the farmer towards measures to prevent the problem in the future.

Figure 4: Laboratory analyst examining a sensitivity agar plate.

Figure 5: The numbers of milk samples submitted to the RVLs for culture in 2013

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Pathogen

No. of isolates

%

Bacillus spp. Contaminated

55

1.68

388

11.76

Trueperella pyogenes No Significant Growth Mycoplasma bovis Other bacterial spp. E. coli Fungal spp. Staph. aureus Other Staph. spp. Strep. dysgalactiae Strep. agalactiae Strep. uberis Other Strep. spp.

19

0.58

647

19.62

11

0.33

38

1.15

295

8.94

9

0.27

1227

37.2

81

2.46

178

5.4

11

0.33

Figure 6: Percentage breakdown of isolates from the 3,317 milk samples cultured at the RVLs during 2013.

292

8.85

47

1.43

Figure 6 illustrates the breakdown of culture results from 2013. Staphylococcus aureus was the most commonly isolated bacterial pathogen. Comparing the figures obtained in the RVLs with those from laboratories in other countries, what immediately stands out is the high isolation rate of Staph. aureus in this country. Staph. aureus is one of the main causes of contagious mastitis and is typically, though not always, spread from cow-to-cow by contact with infected milk on cluster liners or milkers’ hands. All-in-all milk culture provides valuable information. It is important to use this wisely as a means of understanding what is happening on the farm and as a tool to assist in the implementation and monitoring of a mastitis control programme.

1 Alan Johnson is a member of the CellCheck Technical Working Group.

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APRIL EDITION 2015

CELLCHECK TIP OF THE MONTH

Gloves-looking after your cows and hands!

LET’S BE practical-considering the broad range of jobs you do daily as a farmer, it is going to be very difficult to have very clean hands. Yet milkers’ hands are an important vehicle for the transfer of bacteria from cow to cow at milking time. Research done in the 1960’s in England showed that 50% of milkers’ hands were contaminated with bacteria (that could cause mastitis) before milking, and 100% of hands were contaminated by the end of milking. Wearing gloves during milking can reduce the risk of transferring bacteria in 2 main ways: 1. Prevents bacteria from getting lodged in skin cracks, creases and around the nails 2. The smooth surface of the glove makes it easier to remove any bacteria by washing and disinfecting. A recent Dutch study showed a bacterial reduction of up to 98% between gloved hands that were disinfected, and bare hands after milking. Another added, and often underestimated benefit, is the protection that gloves give the skin on your hands. Gloved hands will have less dirt engrainedandare thereforeeasier to scrub clean. The gloveswill also protect against direct contact with chemicals, and help prevent the chapping that can occur when hands are constantly getting wet, especially in cold temperatures. Milkers that wear gloves generally have hands that are smoother, softer and cleaner....something both you and the people in your life will appreciate! It’s time to dispel the myth that gloves are for “sissies”!

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CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER

1. Gloves come in various sizes, so find the size that fits you.

2. Use 2 newdisposable gloves for everymilking, and replace them if they get torn duringmilking.

3. It’s easier to put gloves on dry hands before milking, rather than on wet hands when a problem appears.

4. Rinse and disinfect them at regular intervals during milking, especially after finding clinical cases and after forestripping known high SCC cows i.e. subclinically infected.

For more information, see the CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control

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APRIL EDITION 2015

SERVICE PROVIDER NOTES

CELLCHECK are pleased to announce that another Regional Coordinator has joined the team! John Fitzpatrick, who is a milk quality advisor with Glanbia is now our 8th Regional Coordinator. He will be responsible for the Kilkenny/Laois/ Carlow/Kildare/Dublin areas. These regions were previously covered by Brendan Dillon, also from Glanbia, who will now be coordinating the areas of Cork/Waterford/Wexford/Wicklow. The team of Regional Coordinators is an invaluable resource for the CellCheck programme, increasing its organisational capacity. They are also an important point of contact for farmers and local service providers alike. Anyone interested in organising workshops for their clients should contact their nearest CellCheck Regional Coordinator for assistance.

James Fitzpatrick, Regional Coordinator, Glanbia

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APRIL EDITION 2015

SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION

CellCheck Regional Coordinators

A Resource and Point of Contact for CellCheck Activities in your Area

Tom Downes 087 2564669 Longford/Monaghan Lakeland Dairies

Paul Cullinan 087 2470803 Mayo/Sligo Aurivo

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Paddy Coyle 074 9149127 Donegal Aurivo (Donegal)

Brendan Dillon 087 2626851 Cork/Waterford/ Wexford/Wicklow Glanbia

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Tom Starr 087 6697010 Tipperary/Limerick Arrabawn Co-op

Joe Moriarty 066 7163200 Kerry/Clare Kerry Agribusiness

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John Fitzpatrick 087 6697010 Kilkenny/Laois/Carlow/ Kildare/Dublin Glanbia

Sinead Treanor 023 8822369 West Cork Carbery Group

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Contact your local Regional Coordinator who will help you organise a CellCheck Farmer Workshop

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