A simple blood test may one day help determine if a cow is at risk for developing mastitis. Researchers in Denmark and at the University of Illinois have been examining specific blood markers from several energy metabolites, hormones and enzymes to determine if they signal risk factors for the development of mastitis in early lactation.

According to research published in the November Journal of Dairy Science, the scientists found that nonesterified fatty acids and aspartate aminotransferase may be potential markers for the disease. The researchers note that the promising results may lead to improved nutritional strategies to avoid obesity around calving and help reduce mastitis risk.