First Evaluation of Infrared Thermography as a Tool for the Monitoring of Udder Health Status in Farms of Dairy Cows

Mauro Zaninelli, Veronica Redaelli, Fabio Luzi, Valerio Bronzo, Malcolm Mitchell, Vittorio Dell'Orto, Valentino Bontempo, Donata Cattaneo, Giovanni Savoini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The aim of the present study was to test infrared thermography (IRT), under field conditions, as a possible tool for the evaluation of cow udder health status. Thermographic images (n. 310) from different farms (n. 3) were collected and evaluated using a dedicated software application to calculate automatically and in a standardized way, thermographic indices of each udder. Results obtained have confirmed a significant relationship between udder surface skin temperature (USST) and classes of somatic cell count in collected milk samples. Sensitivity and specificity in the classification of udder health were: 78.6% and 77.9%, respectively, considering a level of somatic cell count (SCC) of 200,000 cells/mL as a threshold to classify a subclinical mastitis or 71.4% and 71.6%, respectively when a threshold of 400,000 cells/mL was adopted. Even though the sensitivity and specificity were lower than in other published papers dealing with non-automated analysis of IRT images, they were considered acceptable as a first field application of this new and developing technology. Future research will permit further improvements in the use of IRT, at farm level. Such improvements could be attained through further image processing and enhancement, and the application of indicators developed and tested in the present study with the purpose of developing a monitoring system for the automatic and early detection of mastitis in individual animals on commercial farms.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Journal Article


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