A veterinary consultant in central Utah has reported isolation of mycoplasma from several herds with mastitis problems during 2001. Mycoplasma has been reported in larger herds from all the surrounding states for several years, so this shouldn't be a big surprise. However, this is the first actual confirmation of its presence in Utah that I am aware of. This should increase our awareness of the disease potential and also increase our "looking" for it.
For diagnosis at the laboratory, the submitter has to request that special culture media and techniques be conducted for mycoplasma. For this type of milk culture, it is usually best to run an initial screening sample on bulk tank milk. If mycoplasma is present in the herd, it should be possible to detect it on this screening sample. Then individual cows could be sampled later for further evaluation by running a CMT to identify affected quarters and then sampling those specific quarters.
It will be best to call the laboratory before the samples are submitted and ask how they would like them collected and handled for mycoplasma. The Lab will usually request that the samples be frozen and submitted by overnight delivery. Some have found that "Express" delivery by US mail was not adequate and often resulted in delayed delivery and failed organism recovery. The commercial carriers such as UPS, FedEx, etc., are okay with the overnight delivery, but avoid sending right before weekends, holidays, etc.
Below are three labs to consider, but call before you send the samples.
USU Diagnostic Laboratory, 950 E. 1400 N, Logan, UT 84322-5700. Phone: 435/797-1895.
Dairy Health Laboratories, 11205 B Rojas, El Paso, TX 79935. Phone: 915/595-2833.
Udder Health Systems, 6401 Old Guide Road, Bellingham, WA 98226-9655. Phone: 360/398-1360.