Machine milking-induced changes in teat canal dimensions as assessed by ultrasonography.


Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. Electronic address: [Email]


Changes in teat canal diameter as induced by machine milking are thought to be related to teat canal penetrability and susceptibility to new intramammary infections. The objective of this study was to describe the effects of machine milking on teat canal dimensions as assessed by ultrasonography and to evaluate postmilking changes of teat canal dimensions throughout an 8-h milking interval. Ultrasonographic images were taken of the left front and right hind teats of 80 Holstein cows milked 3 times per day. Imaging occurred before attachment of the milking unit after completion of premilking udder preparation (t-1), immediately after removal of the milking unit (t0), and then every hour after milking until 8 h had elapsed (t1 to t8). Teat canal length and teat canal diameter (at the proximal, middle, and distal regions) were measured. General linear mixed model analysis indicated differences in the relative change of teat canal length (compared with t-1) with least squares means (LSM) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) of 11.1% (8.7-13.4%) after machine milking (t0). Teat canal length decreased throughout the 8-h milking interval but remained elevated relative to t-1. Teat canal diameter at the proximal and middle regions increased near the end of the milking interval, whereas that at the distal region did not change meaningfully during the 8 h of observation. Our findings suggest that the teat canal and its surrounding tissue is in a state of near-constant remodeling in cows milked 3 times daily. Future work is warranted to study the association between ultrasonographically assessed changes of teat canal dimensions after machine milking and teat canal penetrability to mastitis-causing pathogens.


machine milking,teat canal diameter,teat canal length,ultrasound,