PhD: Combating Bovine Ischaemic Teat Necrosis (ITN)

Hayley Crosby -Durrani


  Research Partner: University of Liverpool

  Start and end date: October 2016 - September 2020

  PhD Student: Hayley Crosby-Durrani 




Bovine ischaemic teat necrosis (ITN) is a newly emerging disease affecting the UK dairy herd.  It causes severe skin sores at the base of the teat that are highly irritating causing the cow to continuously lick at the affected teats.  The disease is a serious animal welfare problem as the cow may remove her own teats and as a result be culled. This is a huge economic problem to the farm as often many unsuccessful treatments will have been attempted prior to culling and there is also the cost of the loss of the cow and the cost of a replacement animal. Currently there are little data on the number of cows affected in the UK or how widespread the disease is. Also, the cause(s) of the disease is not known and studies to identify risk factors for the skin lesions are needed.

A recent small pilot study consistently detected the same bacteria (Treponema spp.) that have previously been linked to digital dermatitis within these lesions.

Aims of the project are:

  • To determine how common bovine ITN currently is in the UK so that there is a starting point to know if cases increase or decrease in the future

  • Identify risk factors to attempt to prevent the cows developing the lesions

  • Determine the cause of ITN which will allow for targeted treatment and control methods

  • Fully document the pathology involved in the disease so that the disease can be recognised early and prevent spread to other animals
  • Attempt to find control and/or treatment methods