Hyperkeratosis and Teat Scoring

Teat orifice hyperkeratosis, a commonly observed condition in dairy cows, has been considered a consequence of machine milking and the degree of hyperkeratosis may be increased by a poor milking system. Teat scoring seems more popular and uses a scoring system from 0 for a perfect orifice to 5 for an orifice significantly enlarged with extensively protruding fronds of teat duct keratin.

Teat scoring procedure allows virtual measures of your cows. There is no suggestion between mean somatic cell count and degree of low level hyperkeratosis at the herd level. It appears that some hyperkeratosis is an obvious and probably natural response to milking and occurs in a significant proportion of animals in all herds although often only to a slight degree.

More Severe hyperkeratosis may be a measure of the performance and management of the herd.

The genetic influence at this time is unknown. Higher yielding cows will score higher as they milk for longer, but generally high scores may reflect consistent and possibly considerable over milking. Hyperkeratosis may be an indicator of the quality of management and show the level of attention being paid to the welfare of the herd.

Previous studies have shown that a mild degree of hyperkeratosis is not associated with an increased prevalence of clinical infection.

However severe hyperkeratosis was associated with more cases of subclinical and clinical mastitis.

Rough or damaged teat skin and teat sores provide sites for bacteria to become lodged, and multiply. Cracks and teat sores can be painful this leads to poor cow behaviour during milking, and poor milk let-down