I have been running a California Mastitis Test (CMT) on my cow nearly every day for at least three weeks. At the September state-run test, my cow had a higher-than-I-wanted somatic cell count, and an astronomical bacterial count. The first several CMTs showed the left hind quarter positive (+2) on the somatic cell count, and the other three quarters had a trace or +1. I wanted to avoid antibiotics, if at all possible, because of the milk withdrawal period. So I began milking three times a day and applying a minty salve to the outside of her udder after milking to stimulate blood flow to the area, in an effort to break up any congestion inside the udder. Over the course of a week and a half, the CMT showed less and less positive results, so the treatment has been working. I have since switched back to only twice a day milking (making time to milk 3x per day is really difficult), but there is still a +1 result coming from the left hind quarter.
Today the state took its sample of the milk to the lab, and while the collector was here, I asked her where I might get additional tests done, between the official state tests. She gave me several vials and the contact information for two labs where I can get tests done. I brought a sample to be tested for bacterial count and type to a lab this morning. I really want to see a bacterial count of less than 2500 per ml, and a somatic cell count of less than 200,000 per ml. If there is a particular organism causing the inflammation in that left hind quarter, knowing what type of bug it is will help me know what action to take to get rid of it. When I have the bacterial count down where I want it, I am thinking the somatic cell count will also go down. I'll post again when I have the results.