Udder edema

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Well-known member
Mar 4, 2008
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NE Kansas
Have a first calf heifer, due Feb 1st, that has this condition. Never seen it before, so it is a new one to me. She basically has a swelling directly in front of the udder, a little bigger than a softball. Vet said it is more common in dairy animals. My vet said it will more than likely go away shortly after calving. Said I could massage it a couple times a day for 10-20 minutes and that might help, but he would just let her be.

Here is the link from the Merck Vet manual.

Keep an eye on it when she calves. Sometimes with edema the udder is so engorged that there isn;t much milk available. If that's the case, after she calves insure you get colostrum into the calf and get some Lasix from the vet. One shot of Lasix usually fixes the problem but I have had to use 2 on a couple of occasions. Once the calf nurses it generally will clear up on it's own without any assistance. Make sure she will let the calf nurse. The swelling makes the udder tender and they won;t alwasy let the calf anywhere near the udder or will kick the calf away from it.
You can also put a mint based cream on it to relieve the swelling a little bit, we use it at the dairy barn where I work, I think IBA sells it to us and I am sure you can find it at almost any cattle supply place. But its not something you want to use if there's a chance the calf might lick it or get it into its eye, so if the calf's nursing its probably not a good idea...wear gloves when you apply it also.
udder edema --- vet is right -- don't worry about it --- it is a bruise--- I have seen it in Dairy cows -she might have gotten kicked-- no big deal
4CT - yes the vet is right - but they said nothing about a bruise because it's not a bruise. Check your facts before posting.


Typical in heavy producers, I see it more in heifers. Just swelling/fluid; it'll go away after calving.
your worring about nothing.1st calf heifers swell at the navel.an get edema in their baggs.that will go down in a week or 2 after calving.an the cake will go out of bagg as well.you dont have to treat her for it.
I've been told that odema is caused by having too much salt in their diet. A lot of dairy farmers feed their cows a special springer ration that is available through the feed companies around here.
Its not bruising it is retained fluid. I have seen it so bad in one of our heifers that it went into her brisket, down her legs, half way up both sides. This was one very uncomfortable heifer, we made a temporary enclosure fairly close to the dairy & restricted her movement we started milking her out twice daily, applying teat cream & washing up between her legs to help clear up the chaping she had just from walking. She went another 2 weeks before she finally calved.

"by 4CTophand on Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:08 am
udder edema --- vet is right -- don't worry about it --- it is a bruise--- I have seen it in Dairy cows -she might have gotten kicked-- no big deal"
I think the word your looking for here is a Hematoma ;-)
Thanks for everyone's responses. My vet said this usually starts to show up about 2 weeks prior to calving. I first noticed it on the 6th of Jan, add two weeks and I get the 20th of Jan. That would be pretty close, they are due to start the 1st of Feb. Is this in line with what everyone else sees, or does the time frame in relation to calving vary?

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