Laboratory for Udder Health (LUH)

The Laboratory for Udder Health will resume normal testing services, effective 4/23/2020, with the following exception: 

  • Full Mastitis Culture – Submissions of 20 or fewer individual cow or quarter samples only

We are not able to process large number of samples submitted for Full Mastitis Culture due to limited staffing and social distancing requirements. Any client whose submissions we cannot accommodate will be notified. If you have any questions, you are encouraged to email the Lab for Udder Health at mastlab@umn.edu. With limited staffing, phone calls will be returned as soon as possible. 

Individual Cow Milk Tests

Specimen Requirements:

2 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
6.30
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

See Submission Guidelines for detailed sample collection, handling and shipping information.  Freeze samples immediately after collecting.  Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen during shipping.

For more than 75 samples, please contact us.

Specimen Requirements:

2 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
5.65 (see below)
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
7-14 business days
Comments:

See Submission Guidelines for detailed sample collection, handling and shipping information.  Freeze samples immediately after collecting. Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen during shipping. 

If requested, the lab will pool individual samples (approximately 10 per pool) for Mycoplasma screening. A pooling fee of $2.00 will be applied to each pool.  When samples are pooled, the original samples will be kept refrigerated until the pooled result is available.  Individual samples from a positive pool are automatically tested and charged the individual fee of $5.65 per sample in the pool. 

Specimen Requirements:

2 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
2.75
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

See Submission Guidelines for detailed sample collection, handling and shipping information.  Freeze samples immediately after collecting.  Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen during shipping.

Specimen Requirements:

2 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
7.65
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days (Staphylococcus) / 7-10 business days (Mycoplasma)
Comments:

See Submission Guidelines for detailed sample collection, handling, and shipping information.   Freeze samples immediately after collecting.  Samples must remain cold, preferable frozen during shipping.

Specimen Requirements:

2 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
4.00
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

See Submission Guidelines for detailed sample collection, handling and shipping information.  Freeze samples immediately after collecting.  Samples must remain cold, preferable frozen during shipping.

Specimen Requirements:

2 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
2.00
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

See Submission Guidelines for detailed sample collection, handling, and shipping information.  Freeze samples immediately after collecting.  Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen during shipping.

Specimen Requirements:

2 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
2.00
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

See Submission Guidelines for detailed sample collection, handling and shipping information.  Freeze samples immediately after collecting. Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen during shipping.

Bulk Milk Tests

Specimen Requirements:

3-5 milk samples collected on 3-5 consecutive days at same time of day; minimum of 6 ml milk each sample

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
33.15
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days (bulk tank); 7-14 business days (Mycoplasma)
Comments:

Freeze samples immediately after collection. Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen. See Submission Guidelines for more information on how to collect a bulk tank milk sample.

For more information, see Using Bulk Tank Milk Cultures in a Dairy Practice.

Specimen Requirements:

6 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
13.50
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

Freeze samples immediately after collection. Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen. See Submission Guidelines for more information on how to collect a bulk tank milk sample.

“Isolating large numbers of environmental streptococci and coliforms from BTM indicates poor hygiene either during equipment cleaning and sanitation, during milking, or between milkings. These two microbial groups share common sources of contamination such as bedding, soil, manure, and water. Milking wet udders, organic soil buildup in milklines, cracked gaskets and inflations, inadequately heated wash water, inadequate cooling of milk, and IMI can all contribute to high environmental streptococcal and coliform counts in BTM. Lowering BTM counts of these bacteria usually involves evaluation of environmental situations. Environmental factors contributing to BTM counts also harbor the potential for increased IMI rates. This association was evident by the positive correlations among environmental streptococcal and coliform rates of clinical mastitis, bacterial counts in bedding, and BTM counts in a study involving nine well-managed dairy herds. Realistic goals for BTM counts of environmental streptococci and coliforms are <1,000 CFU/ml and < 500 CFU/ml, respectively.”

- From Using Bulk Tank Milk Cultures in a Dairy Practice

Specimen Requirements:

6 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
20.50
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
3-4 business days
Comments:

Freeze samples immediately after collection. Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen. See Submission Guidelines for more information on how to collect a bulk tank milk sample.

Specimen Requirements:

Minimum of 6 ml milk each sample

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
7.60 each
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
3-4 business days
Comments:

Freeze samples immediately after collection.  Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen.  See Submission Guidelines for more information on how to collect a bulk tank milk sample.

Specimen Requirements:

6 ml milk

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
14.60
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

Freeze immediately. Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen.  See Submission Guidelines for more information on how to collect a bulk tank milk sample.

Specimen Requirements:

Minimum of 6 ml milk each sample

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
7.60 each
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

Freeze samples immediately.  Samples must remain cold, preferably frozen.  See Submission Guidelines for more information on how to collect a bulk tank milk sample.

Other tests

Specimen Requirements:

two cups of bedding

Shipping Container:

whirl-pac or plastic bag

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
21.75
Days Tested:
M or T
Turnaround Time:
2-9 business days
Comments:

Collect a representative sample of bedding to be tested. For piled, fresh or recycled bedding or a bedded pack, collect samples from 10-12 different locations into a clean container. For stall bedding, collect a sample from the back third of 10-12 different stalls into a clean container. Mix the combined samples and then re-sample approximately 2 cups of bedding into a smaller container (whirl-pac or ziplock bag) for shipping. Refrigerate or freeze before shipping.

If requested, bedding samples can also be tested for dry matter and organic matter at a reference laboratory for an additional fee (submit 2 cups additional sample).

Please note there are no universal guidelines for interpreting bedding culture results –there are no definitive standards that relate a certain level of bacteria to increased risk of mastitis. Bedding cultures may be useful to evaluate “clean” bedding, to compare “before and after” recycled bedding samples, or to evaluate bedding management or treatments. It is advisable to discuss how you will use bedding culture results with a veterinarian or other advisorbefore sending in samples.

Feel free to contact us for more information.

Specimen Requirements:

pure culture

Shipping Container:

agar plate or slant

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
6.30
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
1-2 business days
Comments:

Prevent agar from freezing. 

Note:  For clients using the MN Easy Culture System, we may be able to help with identification from high quality pictures emailed to the lab at no charge. For more information visit our On-Farm Culture page.

Specimen Requirements:

Mycoplasma isolate

Shipping Container:

n/a

Coolant:
n/a
Fee:
31.25
Days Tested:
W, Th
Turnaround Time:
2-3 weeks following Mycoplasma milk culture
Comments:

Requires Mycoplasma Culture submission.

Specimen Requirements:

towel

Shipping Container:

whirl-pac or plastic bag

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
16.50
Days Tested:
M or T
Turnaround Time:
2-9 business days
Comments:

Towel cultures are performed to evaluate the adequacy of laundering procedures or storage conditions of towels used in udder preparation for milking. Freshly laundered towels should be placed in a whirl-pack or clean ziplock bag immediately after laundering. Refrigerate or freeze before shipping.

There are no universal guidelines for interpreting towel culture results, however growth of more than 50 colonies of any type of bacteria from a freshly laundered towel indicates cleaning failure. To evaluate towel storage, you may wish to compare a freshly laundered towel to a towel that has been stored for a representative amount of time before use.

Specimen Requirements:

200 ml water

Shipping Container:

sterile tube

Coolant:
frozen gel packs
Fee:
21.00
Days Tested:
M-F
Turnaround Time:
2-3 business days
Comments:

Refrigerate or freeze before shipping.

Note: As of September, 2018 the Lab for Udder Health will no longer offer Antibiotic Susceptibility testing for mastitis isolates. Please click here for more information. 

Contact us

Laboratory for Udder Health
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
University of Minnesota
1333 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108-1098

mastlab@umn.edu

Phone: 612-625-8787
Toll Free: 800-605-8787
Fax: 612-624-4824

Submission form

LUH Factsheets

Visit our Factsheets page for more information on mastitis pathogens and other tests and services provided by the LUH.

On-Farm Culture

The Lab for Udder Health offers supplies, training and information to help you get started using on-farm culture to manage clinical mastitis on your dairy. For more information visit our On-Farm Culture page.