How to Collect a Milk Sample for Diagnostic Testing Dairy Cattle

Jan 18, 2024 | Educational Blog

CentralStar can conveniently test dairy cattle milk for A1/A2 status, Bovine Leukosis (BLV), Bovine Neospora, Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD), Johne’s Disease, Mastitis, and Pregnancy. Follow these steps to ensure proper sample collection and visit the Lab Services page on our website for complete sample submission information.

Supplies Needed:

  • Disinfectant for cleaning teats
    • Effective germicidal products used for pre-milking teat disinfection are recommended.
  • Paper towels or individual cloth towels
  • Permanent marker for identifying samples
  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Milk vial
    • NOTE: Do not remove preservative* from vial. *Keep out of reach of children. Harmful if swallowed; contact may irritate skin, eyes, and mucus membranes.
labeled vial

Step 1:

  • Label tubes prior to sampling.

Step 2:

  • Brush loose dirt, bedding, and hair from the udder and teats. Thoroughly wash and dry grossly dirty teats and udders before proceeding with sample collection.
  • Discard several streams of milk from the teat (strict foremilk).
  • Dip all quarters in an effective pre-milking teat disinfectant and allow at least 30 seconds contact time.
alcohol prep
  • Dry teats thoroughly with an individual towel.
  • Beginning with teats on the far side of the udder, scrub teat ends vigorously (10 to 15 seconds) with alcohol prep pads. Teat ends should be scrubbed until no more dirt appears on the pad or is visible on the teat end. A single prep pad should not be used on more than one teat. Take care not to touch clean teat ends. Avoid clean teats coming into contact with dirty tail switches, feet, and legs.
sample collect 4

Step 3:

  • Begin sample collection from the closest teat and move to teats on the far side of the udder.
  • Remove the cap from the vial, taking care not to touch the inner surface of the cap.
  • Hold the vial at approximately a 45-degree angle while taking the sample.
  • Do not allow the lip of the sample vial to touch the teat end.
  • Fill vial ¾ full (to fill mark) and immediately replace and tightly secure the cap.
  • To collect a composite sample (milk from all four quarters in the same tube), begin sample collection with the nearest teats and progress to the teats on the far side of the udder. Equal amounts of milk should be collected from each quarter of the udder.
preservative pre invert

Step 4:

  • If using CentralStar vials with preservative, allow sample to rest for 10 minutes to dissolve preservative, then invert the bottle multiple times to thoroughly mix sample with preservative.
  • Keep samples refrigerated until submission to the lab.
  • Pack samples into a plastic, sealable bag, then box.
  • Ship samples to lab with a completed submission form.