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Farm animal practice
Teat surgery in dairy cattle
  1. Judith Roberts

    Judith Roberts graduated from Edinburgh in 2003. Following three years in practice, she undertook a farm animal residency at Cambridge. She works at Lambert, Leonard and May farm veterinary surgeons in Lancashire. She holds the RCVS certificate in cattle health and production, and is currently studying towards a PhD on mastitis detection.

  2. John Fishwick

    John Fishwick graduated from Cambridge in 1985. He spent five years in mixed practice before moving to the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in 1990 where he worked in the college's farm animal practice. In 1997, he took up the position of head veterinarian to Almarai, then the world's largest dairy herd in Saudi Arabia with over 20,000 high-yielding cows on five farms. He returned to the RVC in 2003, where he is currently a senior lecturer in dairy herd medicine and a senior clinical tutor.


Teats in the milking cow are often overused and prone to trauma and injury that reduces their ability to function efficiently. Physical damage to the teat can be due to direct trauma, calves suckling or as a result of internal abnormalities. Management usually involves teat surgery, which can be challenging and time-consuming but ultimately rewarding. There is significant scope for repair and this can help to maintain animals in long-term full milk production. This article describes the most common type of teat injuries seen and discusses how they can be treated surgically in the field.

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