Mastitis under the microscope

Western Dairy scholarship recipient and Murdoch vet student Teanna Cahill is working with Western Dairy to complete her honours project designed to help better understand the risk factors associated with sub-clinical mastitis.

And, she has so far has engaged the support of two former Dairy Innovation Day host farms to assist with her data collection, but is on the look-out for more.

Darren and Sharon Merritt from Elgin Dairy near Capel and Mick and Sophia Giumelli from Benger Heights near Brunswick have both offered up their herds for Teanna’s study, which involves a detailed analysis of the herd recording data; of antibiotic purchasing and usage and consideration of the herds’ demographics and management.

With ambitions to work as a dairy vet once qualified, the detailed analysis that will form part of the Honours thesis will provide an invaluable practical understanding of the management options for Mastitis.

While Western Australia has among the highest quality milk in the country on the basis of somatic cell count, Western Dairy holds the long-term view with an increasing focus on antibiotics the world over, that preventative management of sub clinical mastitis needs to improve.

“Anti microbial resistance (AMR) is an increasing problem for both human and veterinary medicine that demands prodent usage of antibiotics,” Teanna said.

“Our project will lead to a better understanding of management factors that are specific to WA dairy farms and how these contribute to sub clinical rates of mastitis and antimicrobial usage.

“The project will also provide me with a unique opportunity to work through clinical farm-level cases of mastitis and help me to develop the necessary consulting skill around management protocols for mastitis.”

Teanna is currently in field collecting data and any farms prepared to make their data available for her mastitis analysis are encouraged to contact Western Dairy’s Jessica Andony on

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