Female urogenital surgery

Milk flow issues – too slow or too fast

Normal teats -abnormal flow

Cows can also be “tight milkers” and have slow milk flow. Others tend to leak milk. Fixing these is more an art than a science.

Tight milkers – the sphincter can be partially transected in an attempt to improve flow. With the udder full, a teat knife is used to create 2 to 4 partial thickness incisions from the lumen side, spaced equally around the teat. The teat is cut until milk starts to leak. The incisions will fibrose over time, potentially leading to improved milk flow, excessive milk flow or even more limited milk flow.

Excessive milk flow – The same procedure can be used in a deliberate attempt to create scar tissue and tighten the teat. The cuts are made to a minimal depth. Alternately, iodine is injected around the teat spincter to create scar tissue.

Supernumerary teats

Supernumerary teats may look like regular teats and be fully functional with normal anatomy. Others will be fused to the normal glands or teats and leak milk due to abnormal position and lack of normal sphincters.

supernumerary teat ultrasounds

Supernumerary teats are typically removed in calfhood so that the gland does not develop. The teats are removed with scissors, cutting along the long axis of the gland to follow the lines of tension.

If discovered later in life, the entire teat is removed and the lesion closed in 3 layers to minimize leakage. If the only visible issue is a fistula, that is also resected and closed. This will result in milk production changes related to size of the supernumerary gland.

contrast study showing size of supernumerary gland

If conjoined teats, the wall between can be opened up to allow milk to flow from both glands.



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Large Animal Surgery - Supplemental Notes Copyright © by Erin Malone, DVM, PhD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.