A longitudinal study of the clinical course of udder cleft dermatitis on 5 dairy farms in the Netherlands
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Udder cleft dermatitis (UCD) is an inflammation of the skin between the two forequarters of the udder and the ventral abdominal wall, or from the skin between the frontquarters. Previous studies gave insight in prevalence and appearance of the condition at a single time point, but do not give information about development of UCD in the time. Therefore in this study we performed a longitudinal study to describe the clinical course of UCD. UCD lesions in 5 herds were followed up for a period of 23 weeks by photographing the lesions. A score system was developed to give every photo a score and turn information from the photos into analyzable data. UCD lesions appeared with and without breached skin; cases could therefore consist of 'severe' and 'mild' episodes. Mild episodes were characterized as covered with smear/sebum/fat and erythema can be present. Severe episodes are covered with transudate/exsudate/hairs or crusts. It appeared that mild lesions can convert into severe lesions. The average prevalence in the 5 herds was 37,2%. Especially the long duration contributed to this percentage, because the incidence was low: 1,76 episodes/100 cows/week. 36% of the episodes had a duration ≥23 weeks and only 36% of all episodes recovered during the testing period. From severe episodes only 7% recovered.