Udder edema after calving: what to do

It is not uncommon for a cow to have a hard and swollen udder. Most often, this situation occurs due to a violation of the outflow of lymph and blood circulation immediately after calving. Pathology is considered not dangerous to the health of the animal, but timely action is required.

Why is the udder of a cow swollen?

A hard udder can be observed in a cow for several reasons. But in the greatest risk zone are representatives of cattle who calved for the first time or suffer from heart and kidney diseases. In the presence of any pathologies, edema occurs in a cow several weeks before giving birth, and after calving, it does not go away for a long time and only worsens.

The main reasons for the formation of hard edema include the following:

  • toxicosis;
  • the presence in the diet of a large amount of juicy and sour food;
  • heart and kidney disease;
  • lack of an active lifestyle during pregnancy;
  • bruises and injuries of the udder.
Important! Calving edema will almost always go away on its own. But it is always necessary to monitor the animal and the condition of its udder in order to prevent the development of mastitis.

The danger of edema is as follows:

  • udder induration - overgrowth of skin and tissue in the udder, which tends to thicken and lead to a decrease in milk production;
  • mastitis - a serious pathology characterized by compaction of the udder, the development of suppuration and inflammation.

Swelling of the udder in a heifer

If the udder is swollen in a cow that is still in the stage of pregnancy, this may indicate that the heifer has health problems or it is difficult to tolerate pregnancy. A solid breast lump should be a reason to see a doctor.

Swelling of the udder before calving

A cow's stone udder can be observed several days before calving. Experienced breeders recommend not to panic in this case, since this is a normal physiological process. Before childbirth, the mammary gland swells, preparing to take the first portions of colostrum, hormonal changes in the whole organism take place.

Swelling of the udder after calving

Cattle owners most often observe edema in the cow after calving. This is a physiological phenomenon that should go away on its own 3 to 4 days after delivery. At this time, the owner is advised to reduce the amount of wet food in the animal's diet, as well as the amount of liquid consumed.

If after the specified time the problem does not disappear, it is worth starting treatment, since the long stagnation of milk, which is formed in the presence of edema, can cause the development of mastitis and other serious pathologies.

In first-calf heifers, severe udder swelling can be caused by excess milk flow. In this case, it is recommended to increase the number of milkings and massage the hard areas.

Udder inflammation symptoms

Not every cow owner can recognize udder swelling. It is usually seen on the back or the entire breast. In some cases, there is alternate swelling of the lobes of the mammary gland. Visually, this can be seen by this sign: the nipples (back or front) become shorter.

Symptoms of edema include the following:

  • the udder is firm, has a "consistency" of dough, that is, there is a thickened skin that does not regain its former shape if you press on it;
  • nipples (often the back) become shorter;
  • the temperature is normal;
  • the udder is firm, smooth, cold to the touch, looks pale, but painless;
  • part of the mammary gland is enlarged;
  • milk has a watery consistency when milked.
Attention! Most often, less milk can be milked from a breast with edema than from a healthy one. This is directly related to impaired blood circulation in the hard part of the mammary gland.

How to relieve udder swelling in a cow after calving

Since swelling of the udder in cows can be for different reasons, the methods of eliminating them may differ.

If the edema is of a postpartum nature and the udder is not hard everywhere, then treatment as such is not required. It will take about a week for the problem to go away. If the udder is too hard and bothers the cow, then it is better to start complex therapy immediately. It includes the following manipulations and recommendations:

  • frequent milking - at least 6 times a day;
  • massage of edema, which is carried out from the bottom up;
  • changing the components of the diet: it is necessary to remove all wet feed, introduce a large amount of high-quality hay;
  • reducing the amount of fluid consumed;
  • medication treatment.
Important! Medicines for treatment are prescribed by a veterinarian. Usually, experts recommend the use of decongestants, calcium gluconate and diuretics.

During treatment, regardless of what nature it will be, you need to adhere to a number of rules that will help speed up the healing process:

  • maintaining cleanliness in the place where the cow is kept;
  • hand treatment before milking;
  • washing the udder with warm water;
  • rubbing cream into the nipples (to carry out manipulations before and after milking);
  • high-quality milking - no violation of the milking technique is allowed;
  • Udder support with a special corset (any garter capable of supporting a heavy udder will do). This is necessary so that the animal does not experience discomfort and pain;
  • carrying out lotions from paraffin or hay dust;
  • maintaining the optimal temperature in the room where the cow is most of her time.

With the right approach, post-calving udder edema in a cow does not require treatment.

Treatment of cattle udder edema

If a cow's udder has hardened, but this is not associated with calving, then this may indicate the presence of some pathologies. A hard mammary gland is in this case only a symptom of a more serious disease, which must be treated first.

For the appointment of effective therapy, it is required to establish the exact cause of the swelling. This is within the competence of the veterinarian, since each disease has its own characteristics.

  1. Injury... A hard udder mass can be triggered by injury. The treatment process in this case will depend on the severity of the injury. Most often, a specialist prescribes Novocaine injections, which relieve pain and reduce inflammation. With severe closed injuries, it may be recommended to apply cold to a solid mammary gland (effective only in the first hours after receiving a bruise). In the following days, an effect on the injury with heat is prescribed: UHF, thermal baths, etc. If necessary, massage is carried out: with light movements, the hard area is rubbed from the bottom up. Severe hematomas are opened to eliminate the bruise (the procedure is carried out no earlier than 3 to 5 days after injury). An open wound is treated with antibiotics and sulfa drugs, which are prescribed by the course.
  2. Mastitis... If a cow's udder has become coarse due to the development of mastitis, then the edema is removed only after the type of disease is established:
  • with catarrhal mastitis, massage is prescribed, which is carried out from top to bottom, as well as frequent milk production;
  • serous edema of the udder (mastitis) is treated with frequent sucking (every 2 hours) and massage from the bottom up;
  • with purulent mastitis, not only a hard udder is observed, but also the presence of painful sensations. In this case, massage is not recommended.

The animal must also be limited in nutrition, excluding concentrates and juicy feed. Among the medicines that are most often prescribed for mastitis (catarrhal and purulent), solutions of Streptomycin or Penicillin can be distinguished. They are introduced into the udder using a catheter 20 minutes before milking, during which the drugs are removed from the body.

For faster resorption of solid edema, it is recommended to use Iodine and Ichthyol ointments, as well as poultices and wrapping the udder.

Malignant edema in cattle is rarely diagnosed. But it should also not be ruled out if the problem is with a cow that calved a few months ago or has not yet been covered.

Many experienced livestock breeders recommend treating the animal not only with medications, but also with traditional medicine, which can soften solid formations and relieve swelling:

  • soldering with dill water;
  • add chamomile decoction to drinking water to reduce inflammation and relieve swelling;
  • apply cabbage leaves to the hard zone of the udder: the product helps to relieve swelling, moisturizes the skin;
  • solder the animal with a decoction of juniper berries, birch buds or horsetail.

Preventive actions

Preventing breast edema is much easier than treating the resulting consequences. Therefore, it is recommended to take a number of measures to help avoid the development of pathology:

  • most often, the disease can be observed in first-calf heifers, therefore, it is important for them to establish the correct diet (excluding concentrated feed and reducing the amount of juicy ones) and organizing active pastime;
  • the room in which the animal is kept must be kept clean. The litter needs to be changed daily, and in the period after calving, this procedure is best done twice a day;
  • the presence of drafts, sudden changes in temperature and high air humidity is unacceptable in the barn;
  • regardless of age, cattle should not receive lick salts during the period of risk, and the consumption of table salt should be minimized.

A red udder in a cow and its swelling is most often not a disease, but only a symptom of health problems, which must be prevented in the first place.


If the cow's udder is firm, but painless, there is no fever and no deterioration in general health, then the puffiness can be considered not dangerous to health. But in any case, observation of the animal and adherence to a number of the recommendations provided are required.

Give feedback