Suggestions.. Damaged Teat

Help Support CattleToday:


Well-known member
Dec 28, 2003
Reaction score
Noticed a cow (our favorite Lucy) with damage to a guess stepped on. she is due any day and will know the damage better tomorrow. It looks as though it has been sliced part of the way around. She is a good milking cow and so should be able to raise the calf on 3 quarters. Advise

Questions would be how do/does a quarter die, can she loose a qtr and live..we will not kill this animal or send it through the sale barn..she has been the producer for us in $.

Edited to say we will consult the vet tomorrow
As long as she's not sliced right through to the milk canal, just let it heal. To milk (dairy cow) a damaged teat I sometimes use a porous bandage to support the skin. Your vet will set you right with that, if it's appropriate. Again, if it's serious (sounds like this one is) I might not milk that teat at all for four or five days. The cow ends up light on one quarter, but the teat heals.
Just hope she doesn't calve too soon - I've heard of farmers putting bags on their cows bags and giving the calves one teat at a time (to stop them only sucking off the front two or whatever)... maybe someone else here knows how that works.

If the teat is badly crushed or sliced through to the milk canal so that she may not be able to milk through it the quarter should simply dry up. She may get mastitis, specially if the teat canal is open and leaking milk everywhere.
Deal with that if it happens. It might not.

I've got some rather gruesome pictures of dead quarters (black mastitis/gangrenous mastitis). The short answer is yes, they can lose (slough) a quarter and live and even come back into production on the other three. But that's something less than half of all cows that get black mastitis - I've seen five cases, I've seen two survive.
I doubt she's at very high risk for black mastitis. Ask the vet about symptoms and treatment tomorrow if you want to be prepared - you won't be wondering what it is for long if she does get it; the quarter goes cold and clammy and is extremely painful.
Just adding - for the US guys to clarify...

I'm not certain if black mastitis is what you call gangrenous mastitis, or the Brits use that name anyway.
Its a s. aureus / e. coli infection, renders the quarter un-milkable usually within a day or two of signs becoming apparent (produces scant brown fluid, if anything), no response to intramammary treatments, quarter always sloughs if the cow survives. Do you have a name for that?
Thanks regolith. I can see the tear so it seems pretty bad to me..Im not sure how deep it is but the teat is swollen and it is at least 1/3 the way around where the teat attaches. At first I though she had mud or something stuck on the teat..husband touched it when examining her and it was real tender. Plan to get her in the chute and clean it up and get a closer look. Thanks for addressing my biggest concerns, first being infection of some type and 2nd the calf on the way.

I had her due to calf on the 9th so she is already overdue, and milk is squirting out of this teat and the others so I think its close, I hope I was wrong about due date hope it is the 30th, she usually has calves in May so that would be about right.
she should be ok.but she will most likely be a 3 teater from now own.but mastitis copuld set up in that teat.i would keep a close eye on her an if her bagg turns red around that teat get her up an check that teat.weve never lost a cow from a stepped on or cut teat.
Had one like this years ago and the vet put strong Iodine into that quarter to kill infection and that also kill the quarter. She recovered quickly and with 3 teats she still grew one of the bigger calves. Call your vet and see what they say.
Called Vet, he would have seen her today, but has a small crew on weekends, really wanted to look on mon, so i agreed..His point was if she was eating she was probably okay. Also if the calf sucked it out he said better. Also said we could put her in chute and cut it off, just don't know if i am ready for that and called and said i wanna bring her to you. He has a nice set up with alleys and nice chute that tilts.

Today, late afternoon, she had calf (bull so far 4 bulls 1 heifer *yah*). milk running over teat like a waterfall. I think we will be making the trailer ride at sunrise on Monday. This is the one cow (our foundation - Lucy) that we will do that for and she will feed this calf fine. I want to thank everyone for advise. My prime objective is to keep this cow alive, if not well that happens too.


Ps My aviator is one of her bull calves
If milk is running out the rent in the teat it's toast. They can be sutured if done right away but they tend to not heal anyway. Sounds gross but I've seen a lot of dairy guys just have the teat amptuated with an emasculator. Sometimes it dries up and sometimes the milk pours out every time the cow lets milk down. If the defect is low enough there might be enough teat left for the calf to nurse it anyway (I have this vision of a "milk bong"). :lol2:

At any rate as long as there's no mastitis I would shy away from chemical killing if the quarter in fears the calf might ingest some inadvertantly. Without a picture I say have them cut it off.
Thanks redcowrule for your input. I called the vet on Sunday and since the cow had calved he said he could not do any stitching and that he did not recommend a trailer ride (he is 1 hr away). Said that the calf sucking would be the best thing for her, and as long as she was still eating & not showing any other symptoms he though mastitis would be rare. The teat looks wierd now like maybe it is trying to heal where the tear is and the milk is squirting out of it like normal(not over the side) when the calf nurses and hits the bag. We have them locked up for now, but will be turning her out in next couple days. The tit was cut high were it meets the bag not looks like the calf might be able to suckle it (I don't know if she will let him). I tried to get a picture of it but my the ones of that side were out of focus. Excuse the mud, we are again having a very wet cooler than normal spring--the farmers here don't even have the corn in (usually they start getting it in in late March early April) this is a picture of her with calf you can see how huge her udder gets.. I will try to get a picture of the damaged one this evening in the barn, I hope we do not have to have it removed.
We have had several older cows who's udders are bigger step on a teat. The calf nurses it and it heals on it's own. I have never done anything about it. Had it happen on my sows before to. They heal with time and the calfs nursing is the best thing for it.
Best of luck.
Double R
I had one step on her teat last year.. similar to your situation it sounds like, except she'd already calved. We had to milk that teat out, because it was painful and she wouldn't let the calf nurse it, and it did eventually dry up.

She just calved a few days ago, and we checked it this morning, and it was milking like normal. It has a funny little flap of skin, but the calf doesn't seem to mind.

I would be mostly concerned with watching for infection, as it's so wet there. But I bet she'll be fine.. even if she does lose the quarter for this year.

Nice looking pair!
My first advise is to trust your instincts.. I did not post here because it was trivial.
I took pictures, but did not post them here because of animal rights orginazations and could not find a picture of a damaged teat on the intenet. I wanted to believe you guys and the vet...but when i forwarded the picture to the vet and he called back and to the vet we went.

Lucy's front right teat was amputated, there were bleeding problems during the procedure, she had dead tissue and some mastitis. The treatment plan is 30cc or pen for five days. When the vet crimped and cut the teat there was mention that the teat would drain, it did not. What advise can you give. I don't care if I have a 3 bagged cow..i just want her to live

This is a situation where a phone call is not the answer, a photo got attention. I want my cow to live.

The milk did not drain, the vet said when the teat was cut it would.

Our goal now is for the cow to live. Thank you. donna

Edited to add..the vet said there were some lumps or mastitis, that there were dead areas, If there is not drainage is there anything we can do.

I apoligize for any errors in this posting, I have had a terrible day, and learned that a good friend drowned and part of our barn if anyone has something helpful i appreciate it.
The area that may have mastitis needs to be stripped out and infused with something like "special formula".

If you are going to keep the cow and never ever ship her for food consumption I would dose her major..PM me with the drugs you have and I will try to help..

PM ME...
hillsdown":1rxlirg0 said:
I am sorry Donna, but what are you asking ? If I have a clarification I might be able to help..

The milk did not drain from the quarter even tho the teat was removed.

Is 30cc of penn a day for 5 days enought to treat mastitis and a big hole in a quarter of the udder?

she is a strong cow, but i know that had to hurt like H***

Latest posts