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AHDB Dairy funded PhD gets to grip with new disease: Ischaemic Teat Necrosis (ITN)

PhD scientist and Vet, Hayley Crosby, explains how you can help with her research into a new and emerging disease in dairy cattle, Ischaemic Teat Necrosis (ITN).

The cause of Ischaemic Teat Necrosis (ITN), how much disease is present in Great Britain and the risk factors which we would associate with the disease are all unknown. Worryingly, there are anecdotal reports of herds with up to 20% of heifers affected. There are currently no effective treatments for this disease.

ITN presents as a dry, dark red to black area on the skin at the base of the teat (see photos 1 and 2) that may extend down the teat towards the teat end and/or up on to the skin of the udder. These lesions are highly irritable to the cow and can cause her to constantly lick her teats until she has removed them (see photo 3). Once the teats have been lost the cow is often culled on welfare grounds. The lesion appears to be mostly confined to the skin and does not directly cause mastitis. Mastitis may however occur due to an inability to milk the quarter and secondary infection (see photo 3).

 

Photo 1. ITN lesion on the right hind teat before self-trauma has occurred. There is a dry, dark red to black area at the centre of the base of the teat and extends both down the teat and up on to the skin of the udder.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 2. The teat in the distance has a typical ITN lesion prior to self-trauma. The teat closest to the camera has an ITN lesion with secondary mastitis in the affected quarter.

 

 

Photo 3.  The udder of a cow that was constantly licking her teats. She has removed 2 teats herself and has the same lesion on the 3rd teat. (Photograph courtesy of Mike Thorne, Rutland Vets).

 

 

As the cause of bovine ITN is currently unknown, research into this disease is essential. AHDB Dairy are funding work at the University of Liverpool in an attempt to find some answers.  To do this we need your help.

We are keen to hear from anyone with experience of the disease no matter how small the information. Please contact vet Hayley on +44(0)7765456529 or via email hcrosby@liverpool.ac.uk. For updates and further information please visit www.liverpool.ac.uk/BovineITN