Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Udder thigh dermatitis

Synonym(s): Flexural seborrhea, UTD, udder cleft dermatitis, foul udder, bovine ulcerative mammary dermatitis

Contributor(s): Catherine Fraser , Sophie Mahendran

Introduction

  • A common disease of dairy cattle worldwide.
  • May be an animal welfare issue.
  • Cause: multifactorial and polymicrobial, but mange and treponemes are often implicated.
  • Signs: ranges from mild erythema to gangrenous necrosis of the skin between the udder and the medial thigh of dairy cattle.
  • Diagnosis: clinical signs are diagnostic.
  • Treatment: reduce udder edema and disinfection and cleaning of skin surfaces.
  • Prognosis: good.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Skin lesions occur at the anterior junction between the udder and abdominal wall, or between the front quarters of the udder.
  • The etiology is still unclear.
  • Progression of the disease from mild to severe lesions appears to be relatively slow.
  • Treponeme bacteria associated with digital dermatitis Foot: digital dermatitis lesions has been suggested as a contributing factor.
  • Mange infections with sarcoptic or chorioptic mites Chorioptes bovis Mites: burrowing and non-burrowing has also been implicated in lesion development.
  • Necrotic dermatitis of the udder of the hindquarters or skin of the thighs in heifers is probably not the same as udder thigh dermatitis.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Prescence of mange.
  • Higher yielding cattle at increased risk.
  • Poor udder conformation:
    • Increasing age is also a risk factor, but ths may be linked to udder conformation.
  • Udder edema.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Unsanitary lying areas.

Pathophysiology

  • The skin folds between the udder and abdominal wall create a microclimate for the (unknown) cuasative microbes to colonize.
  • Lesions can be categorized into two groups, depending on the integrity of the skin:
    • Mild cases have crusts, sebum, erythema or transudate, but with an intact skin.
    • Severe cases have open wounds combined with pus and necrosis.
  • Occassionally, death may occur following erosion of the mammary vein and severe blood loss.
  • Udder cleft dermatitis has also been linked to an increased risk of mastitis, potentially due to the skin lesions being a reservoir for Staphylococcus aureus Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Udder edema can cause local congestion of udder skin and reduced flow of tissue fluid. Additional rubbing of apposing skin surfaces (intertrigo) leads to erythema, sweating, local abrasion and serum ooze.

Timecourse

  • Severe cases will take 4-16 weeks to resolve.

Epidemiology

  • Multiple different bacteria have been isolated from affected skin both aerobic and anerobic.
  • Fusobacterium spp Fusobacterium necrophorum are almost always isolated.
  • Prevalence has been reported to vary widely from 0-39% within herds.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Bouma A, Nielen M, van Soest E, Sietsma S, van den Broek J, Dijkstra T & van Werven T (2016) Longitudinal study of udder cleft dermatitis in 5 Dutch dairy herds. Journal of Dairy Science 99, 4487-4495 PubMed.
  • Waller K, Bengtssonm M & Nyman A K (2014) Prevalence and risk factors for udder cleft dermatitis in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science 97, 310-318 PubMed.
  • Olde riekerink R G M , van Amersfort K, Sampimon O C, Hooijer G A & Lam T J G M (2014) Prevalence, risk factors and field scoring system for udder cleft dermatitis in Dutch dairy herds. Journal of Dairy Science 97, 5007-5011 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Roy C et al (2011) Management of Udder-Thigh Dermatitis on Dairy Cattle: Epidemiological and Bacteriological Data. In: Udder Health and Communication. Wageningen Academic Publishers.


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