New tools for improved mastitis management



For decades, Somatic cell count (SCC) has been used as the key indicator in mastitis screening programs typically applied in the frame of Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) testing programs. But mastitis is still the costliest disease in global milk production today, in particular in its subclinical form which can go unnoticed and cause significant economic loss.


In recent years, the introduction of a new generation of milk analysers offering rapid and simultaneous determination of SCC and a new parameter, differential somatic cell count (DSCC), has opened up the possibility of new mastitis testing options that help veterinarians and dairy farmers to safeguard udder health in individual cows and prevent mastitis from spreading within herds.


The combination of SCC and DSCC provides more precise information on the actual inflammatory status of the mammary gland, thus enabling early detection and more effective control of the disease and subsequently resulting in economic profit for dairy farmers.


Browse this collection of articles and academic papers to learn more about the powerful tools and new testing strategies offering new opportunities to improve mastitis management. 

Cell composition analysis of milk enables better udder health management

The total somatic cell count in milk is a confirmed method in mastitis and overall udder health management of dairy cows around the world. Now we can add another dimension to this. By looking at the composition of the different cells in milk, we add valuable new information to the udder health management toolbox. READ ARTICLE

Milk testing for mastitis detection in dairy herds

Milk testing laboratories have been able to spot cows with mastitis for many years using somatic cell count as an indicator, but as FOSS cattle disease specialist Dr. Daniel Schwarz (DS) points out, there is still work to be done and lots of wasted milk to be saved. READ ARticle
dairy farmer

Mastitis insights gained from different udder health groups

In a recently published study, based on routine milk recording data from several countries, four different udder health groups were formulated and studied, based on the combination of the somatic cell count and a new parameter: the differential somatic cell count.


This new way of categorising udder health provides more detailed insights compared to working with SCC alone. Here we explain how these groups were defined.


The practical value of DSCC for dairy farmers

A new concept allows farmers to categorize cows in different udder health groups based on somatic cell count and a new parameter DSCC. The farmer can better evaluate and manage udder health and improve performance of his cows. This was concluded from a study among 11 pilot farms.

With the introduction of a new high-throughput flow-cytometry-based analyser, a means for identifying individual immune cell populations became available for commercial milk-testing laboratories.  

farmer with dairy cows
Dairy farmer pdf

Practical insights from the farm - An interview with Qnetics

In this article, Dr. Daniel Schwarz interviews the General Manager & Head of DHI operations at Qnetics, where they have successfully implemented DSCC as a valuable tool to improve udder health management.


Read more about the mastitis insights gained from working with different udder health groups in this full length interview.


Are you ready to learn about the value of differential SCC in your business?

Get in touch with our specialists to discuss your potential business value with no strings attached. Let's talk

CombiFoss™ 7

CombiFoss™ 7 provides raw milk testing for 19 parameters in 6 seconds, including somatic cell count (SCC) and differential SCC (DSCC). DSCC is a new milk testing parameter introduced with the Fossomatic™ 7 DC analyser helping farmers to diagnose mastitis. It complements the established test for total number of somatic sells (SCC) pioneered by FOSS in the 1980’s.


CombiFoss™ 7 offers seamless integration of MilkoScan™ 7 RM (FTIR) and Fossomatic™ 7 (flow cytometry) in one analysis unit. 

Learn more


Further reads

For further insight into this topic, browse this section of scientific articles and papers. 


SCC and DSCC-based udder health groups provide valuable and additional information about the future udder health status of dairy cows 
This article looks into the added value of working with the combination of SCC and DSCC as compared to SCC alone. Read more about the DSCC-based udder health group concept and association with the future development of cows. 

Introduction of SCC and DSCC-based udder health group concept and investigation of its associations with dairy cow performance
This article is the result of close collaboration with milk-testing laboratories and organisations from 5 different countries. Learn more about the DSCC-based udder health group concept and how the performance of dairy cows varies in each of the four udder health groups. 

Test characteristics of SCC and DSCC 
The results of our collaboration on DSCC with Lactanet (former Valacta), Canada, have just been published as a scientific article. The article describes the test characteristics of working with SCC and DSCC compared to working with SCC only. Read about the conclusions of the first ever study evaluating the combined use of DSCC and SCC compared to SCC alone.  

Differential somatic cell count—A novel method for routine mastitis screening in the frame of Dairy Herd Improvement testing programs
This scientific article provides a study of the FOSS DSCC method for routine analysis of both DSCC and SCC using untreated individual cow milk samples. Learn more about the value of the new method for CMT laboratories benefitting from added information about the prevalence of mastitis in herds and thus allowing improved mastitis screening within the frame of DHI testing programs.

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