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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Mild and severe udder cleft dermatitis-Prevalence and risk factors in Swedish dairy herds

Ekman, L.; Nyman, A. -K.; Landin, H.; Magnusson, U.; Waller, K. Persson

Abstract

Udder cleft dermatitis (UCD) is an inflammatory skin condition affecting the anterior parts of the udder of dairy cows. The lesions may present as mild or severe skin lesions and have been associated with mastitis and digital dermatitis. The full etiology and pathogenesis are not understood and no large-scale studies have investigated prevalence and risk factors. Therefore, the main objectives of the study were to investigate the prevalence of mild and severe UCD in Swedish dairy herds and to identify risk factors associated with such lesions. We also wanted to investigate risk factors for all cases of UCD and to determine whether UCD increases the risk for mastitis and culling. A random sample of 100 freestall dairy herds were included in the study, and each herd was visited once. Cows were registered as having no, mild, or severe UCD. Additional cow and herd data were obtained via observations, interviews, and the Swedish Official Milk Recording Scheme. The data were analyzed using logistic regression models to identify risk factors for mild and severe UCD. In total, data from 3,479 cows in 99 herds were analyzed. The prevalence of mild and severe UCD was 19 and 9%, respectively. Lesions were found in 98 of 99 herds but the within-herd prevalence of mild (0-43%) and severe (0-33%) UCD varied notably between herds. Breed (Swedish Red compared with Swedish Holstein), certain udder conformation traits, and higher parity were risk factors associated with increased risk of UCD. In addition, cows with hock lesions and cows in herds with high incidence of culling due to hoof and leg diseases had a higher risk for mild UCD. More days in milk and high milk yield were cow-related risk factors associated with severe UCD. Three housing-related factors (shorter cubicles, mattress as cubicle base, and cubicles installed before 2001 compared with 2001-2005), a high incidence of veterinary-treated clinical mastitis and culling due to udder diseases, and a low incidence of culling of first-parity cows in early lactation were herd-related risk factors associated with increased risk for severe UCD. In addition, cows in herds with a high proportion of heifers older than 17 mo that were not inseminated were associated with lower risk of all UCD. Finally, UCD was not associated with the outcomes milk somatic cell count, veterinary-treated clinical mastitis, or culling in the multivariable analyses. The etiology of UCD is most likely multifactorial, involving udder conformation traits and other cow-related risk factors as well as herd-related risk factors. The high prevalence of severe UCD lesions in Swedish dairy cows emphasizes the need for preventive measures arid efficient treatments.

Keywords

udder cleft dermatitis; dairy cow; ulcerative mammary dermatitis; intertrigo

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2018, Volume: 101, number: 1, pages: 556-571 Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC