Female urogenital surgery

Teat laceration repair

Teat wounds are managed similarly to other wounds. Preoperative milk cultures are recommended to determine the best perioperative antibiotics. If not available, samples should be taken at the start of surgery.

Surgery should be performed in lateral recumbency with the cow sedated and limbs restrained. Local anesthesia can be performed by a ring block around the teat, supplemented with infusion of lidocaine into the teat. Suction is nice if available.

The wound should be gently cleaned and debrided if needed. Sharp debridement is preferred but minimize the amount of tissue removed to avoid constricting milk flow.

Full thickness teat wounds should be closed in 3 layers to minimize fistula formation. The smallest diameter suture material reasonable should be used; 3-0 is typical. Monocryl should not be used as it dissolves rapidly in normal milk. Dexon dissolves rapidly in mastitic milk. Teat tissue heals rapidly; a short duration suture material could be used. However, monofilaments are less traumatic in the delicate mucosa. The final layer can be closed in a subcuticular (intradermal) pattern, standard skin appositional pattern or with wound glue.

Note: it is not possible to recreate a functional teat sphincter at time time.

Typical teat laceration repair

Mucosa closure – 3-0 absorbable suture in a simple continuous pattern

options include polydioxanone, polyglactin 910

Submucosa closure – 3-0 absorbable suture in a simple continuous pattern

options include polydioxanone, polyglactin 910 and poliglecaprone 25

Skin closure – 3-0 absorbable or nonabsorbable suture in a subcuticular or appositional pattern

Teats should not be milked until a fibrin seal forms, typically in 6 hours. After that, frequent milking is useful to minimize swelling. Avoid hand stripping and hand milking for at least 24 hours.


Local blocks of the teat, slide #47


Traumatic teat laceration in a Jersey cow, case report

Teat fistula in a Jamunapari goat, case report



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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.