Diagnosis of subclinical mastitis in Santa Inês and Morada Nova sheep in southeastern Brazil
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The objective of this study was to evaluate different screening limits for the California mastitis test (CMT) and the somatic cell count (SCC) in previous diagnoses of subclinical mastitis in Santa Inês and Morada Nova ewes, which were reared under the same management conditions. Additionally, cutoff points were defined for SCC in accordance with the sensitivity and specificity of the test. A total of 907 mammary halves were subjected to CMT and SCC. The disease was confirmed by means of microbiological identification. Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) were the microorganisms with highest occurrence. The CMT score of 1+ provided adequate sensitivity and specificity at all periods of lactation investigated. This score showed good agreement with SCC, >400,000 cells mL−1. Higher cell counts favored higher diagnostic specificity. They can be used when producers have financial difficulties relating to treatment or culling of sheep with subclinical mastitis. However, producers should be warned about the risk of false-negative results in the flock.