Life-threatening injuries of the subcutaneous ventral abdominal veins in dairy cows. Injuries of the of dairy cows can result in life-threatening haemorrhage. Treatment of these injuries can be diffi cult
because of the characteristics of the veins. Five cows aged 6.5 to 12 years were referred to the Animal Hospitale Zurich, because of intermittent haemorrhage from a ventral abdominal vein. Four of the cows were near term and one had calved two weeks before referral. Intermittent bleeding was seen from the highly convoluted and dilated subcutaneous tributaries to the cranial superfi cial epigastric vein (milk vein). The haematocrit of 2 cows was markedly lower than normal. Emergency slaughter of one of the cows was carried out because of advanced age. The other 4 cows were sedated and after application of local anaesthetic, the wounds were debrided and sutured. Two of the cows required a blood transfusion before being operated. There were no postoperative complications. This type of injury seems to occur predominantly in pluriparous dairy cows close to term, in which the tributaries to the milk vein have undergone varicose changes. Treatment should consist of surgical resection of the injured tissue and suturing of the venous wall, subcutaneous tissues and skin.