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Teat Necrosis

Background and history

Teat necrosis describes a condition where constant rubbing and pressure on the end of the teat causes the teat sphincter and delicate tissues to die (necrosis) and slough off. It is of no consequence in commercial herds which are buying in replacement gilts but it is a very important condition where breeding stock are being produced.

Clinical signs

It first becomes evident 12 to 24 hours after birth. The teat end appears bright red gradually becoming black. Trauma to the teats occurs on all floor surfaces but to a lesser extent on those that are well bedded with shavings or straw. The teats in front of the umbilicus are the ones at risk because these have the greatest contact with the floor during sucking.

The damage to the tissues can be severe resulting in a blind or inverted teat.

Diagnosis

Examine teats 8 - 24 hours after birth for red or black teat sphincters.

Causes

Trauma to the teats occurs on all floor surfaces but to a lesser extent on those that are well bedded with shavings or straw.

Prevention

As soon as the female piglets are born and have dried off they should be held by the hind legs and the teats anterior to the umbilicus coated with a protective compound. Such compounds could include copydex, a white rubbery glue used for sticking carpets, cow gum which is a rubberised solution often used for sticking photographs into albums or a contact adhesive such as evostik. These compounds gradually disappear over the next 3 to 4 days but protect the teats during the susceptible period

Treatment

There is no treatment