Milk flow obstruction caused by varicose vein of the teat in dairy cattle


Corresponding Author

Dr. Hélène Lardé, DMV, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Department of Clinical Science, Université de Montréal, CP 5000, St-Hyacinthe, Canada QC J2S 7C6. E-mail:



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.