To describe varicose vein as a cause of obstruction of the teat cistern in dairy cattle and to report therapeutic options and outcome.

Study Design

Retrospective case series.


Dairy cows (n = 22).


Medical records (1998–2011) of dairy cows admitted for milking difficulties caused by a teat varicose vein were reviewed. Three treatment approaches were used: sclerotherapy, ligation of the vein associated with sclerotherapy, and phlebectomy. Long-term outcome was obtained ≥6 months after treatment and defined as a milking improvement. Descriptive statistics were used to determine the population at risk and a chi square test was used to evaluate the relationship between treatments and outcomes.


Twenty-four teats (22 cows) had a varicose vein. Forequarters were more frequently affected than rear quarters (P < .01). Three sclerotherapies, 12 ligations associated with sclerotherapy and 6 phlebectomies were performed. Five veins were not treated. Overall prognosis with treatment was good (84%) at ≥ 6 months and was not significantly different between treatment types (P = .38). Recurrence of the obstruction by the varicose vein occurred in 3 of 19 teats.

Conclusions and clinical relevance

Several surgical options are available for treatment of teat varicose veins. The overall prognosis of return to normal milking is good.