Udder gangrene

Udder gangrene

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Various diseases of the mammary gland are common in low- and high-yielding animals. One of these is udder gangrene in cows. It can occur during lactation or dry periods at any time of the year. A surge in morbidity is observed at moments of increased lactation, as well as within 10-15 days after the birth of a calf.

Causes of udder gangrene in cows

Gangrene is a putrefactive process that leads to tissue breakdown followed by drying out. It is caused by microbes, autolysis and various environmental factors. Necrosis can occur almost anywhere on the skin.

Gangrene occurs due to the direct effect of exogenous or endogenous factors on the tissues. Scientists and veterinary doctors identify the following causes of the disease:

  • the presence of bedsores;
  • compression and crushing of tissues;
  • mechanical rupture of the skin;
  • severe burns;
  • frostbite of tissues;
  • hernias that lead to intestinal infringement;
  • turns;
  • direct effect of purulent, purulent-putrefactive, anaerobic microflora on skin areas.

When making a diagnosis, multiple internal causes of gangrene are taken into account:

  • metabolic disorders in the body;
  • endocrine and vasomotor disorders;
  • blood clots;
  • starvation;
  • rupture of blood vessels;
  • significant blood loss.

Udder gangrene is of two types: dry and wet.

Clinical signs

The disease has pronounced clinical signs that make it possible for the owner of cattle to determine the presence of udder gangrene in time and seek veterinary help. In the first stage, single or multiple spots are formed on the udder. They are characterized by:

  • tightness to the touch;
  • soreness when touched;
  • in red or blue.

The process of gangrenous damage to the tissues of the udder proceeds very quickly. Already a few days after the onset of the first signs of inflammation, the second - a dangerous stage occurs with the following clinical manifestations:

  • high body temperature of the cow;
  • the formation of multiple seals throughout the udder;
  • rapidly developing disorders of the cardiovascular system;
  • at the base of that part of the udder in which the focus of the inflammatory process is located, a pronounced line of a bright blue color of demarcation appears;
  • both in the sick and in the healthy portion of the udder tissue, the amount of secreted secretion is rapidly decreasing;
  • the affected quarter increases sharply in size;
  • against the background of the inflammatory process, the lymph nodes become larger and more painful.

Attention! When trying to milk the affected quarter of the udder, a little substance of medium density, gray or brown in color with a characteristic ichorous odor, is released from it.

The course of the disease

With dry gangrene, there is a progressive drying of skin tissues without changing its structure. With the development of the disease, it becomes bluish, red or even black. The longer the gangrene lasts, the less sensitive the affected area becomes. The temperature in it decreases significantly, and venous stasis occurs in the affected area. Every day the fabrics become drier, as the liquid evaporates completely. The result of the complete evaporation of the liquid is called tissue mummification.

Important! With the reactive form of the inflammatory process, a clear demarcation line is formed that separates living and dead tissues. By-products and tissue breakdown products are not absorbed by intact skin areas. On the udder, dry gangrene in the early stages is practically not diagnosed.

Wet gangrene is a process of putrefactive decay of tissues, which is provoked by microbes and autolysis in conditions of impaired circulation of venous blood and lymphatic fluid.

In the affected area, a large amount of liquid begins to accumulate, which includes putrefactive microflora, toxins, and protein breakdown products. It is the accumulation of this fluid that causes the rapid death of adjacent tissues, which is why the demarcation line is poorly visible and appears at critical stages of the disease.

Due to the intense absorption of harmful substances by the body, the process of intoxication of the livestock body occurs. If the germ factor is removed with antibiotics, it is likely that wet udder gangrene will dry out.

Treatment of udder gangrene

Before starting treatment, it is necessary to confirm the validity of the diagnosis. For this, a number of laboratory studies are carried out, including the collection of anamnestic and epizootic data, as well as a general clinical examination.

When compiling anamnesis, a number of factors are taken into account that can provoke the onset of mastitis and, as a result, a complication - udder gangrene. The conditions of detention with nutrition are also considered, this helps to establish the cause of the disease.

To treat gangrene of the udder of the standard picture, the following number of methods are used:

  1. A sick cow is isolated from the herd and transferred to a separate place to ensure a calm regime.
  2. To normalize the general tone, intravenous injections with nutrients are used, as a rule, a mixture of calcium chloride, caffeine, Kadykov's liquid, glucose and urotropine is injected.
  3. To localize and relieve the inflammatory process, shock doses of antibiotics are administered intramuscularly.
  4. Lugol's solution with the addition of hydrogen peroxide, diluted potassium permanganate and oxygen is necessarily introduced into the breast through the nipple canal. After 15 minutes, Lugol's solution is removed from the body. Antibiotics mixed with novocaine or saline solution, brought to a temperature of 35-37 degrees, are injected through the cleaned canals in the same way. Antibiotics are used as an alternative to antibiotics. It is strictly forbidden to do breast massage.
  5. Purulent foci of gangrene are opened surgically, making wide incisions.
  6. Wounds from cuts and tissue destruction are regularly treated with hydrogen peroxide every 4 hours, after which they are sprinkled with a special powder. You can use iodoform or mix 3: 1 streptocide and potassium permanganate.
  7. To accelerate the healing of open wounds, it is recommended to use antiseptic ointments, creams or solutions, for example, balsamic liniment (Vishnevsky's ointment).

If within 5-6 days the treatment does not give visible results, the cow is culled.


If udder gangrene is detected at the first stage and its effective treatment, negative consequences can be avoided. As practice shows, due to the rapid course of the disease, udder gangrene is diagnosed when the inflammatory process is already seriously started.

With a qualified approach, the pathological process of destruction and suppuration of tissues can be localized by the affected quarter, after which a number of therapeutic methods can be applied.

The high mortality rate is due to the specificity of the disease of udder gangrene. Against the background of the inflammatory process, embolic foci are also diagnosed in various organs, mainly in the kidneys, liver and lungs. Ultimately, livestock dies due to septicemia.


The following measures are used to prevent udder gangrene:

  • systematic examinations with a focus on changes in the mammary gland;
  • wiping the udder before milking with a towel soaked in sodium hypochlorite;
  • after milking, the nipples are lubricated with a disinfectant.

Advice! In some cases, drug injection prophylaxis of udder gangrene is used after consultation with a veterinarian.


Udder gangrene in cows occurs primarily as a side effect of mastitis. Because of this, there is an acute issue of the prevention of this disease, timely determination based on clinical signs and effective treatment.

Watch the video: Allergic mastitis in recently 1st calved buffaloe (February 2023).

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