Cattle warts appear on the skin of cattle and are usually confined only to the neck and shoulder region. In advanced stages, the warts may also appear on or around the teats and genital areas. All cattle under two years of age are susceptible to the condition. The four most common types of cattle warts are squat, pendulated, flat and tags. They appear as hairless lesions. The larger the warts get, the more susceptible they are to bleed due to rubbing. This could in turn lead to secondary infections where bacteria can invade and infect those areas.
Warts are also called Bovine Papillomatosis or Infectious Papillomatosis by most veterinarians. These names are linked with a special group of viruses. A papilloma is a tumor on the skin.
Warts are caused by papilloma viruses. There are at least 6 distinct strains of Papilloma virus. Each of them can produce characteristic lesions on the skin. The virus can easily transmit itself by direct contact, through equipment, and through insects which carry the virus. The viruses enter the skin through wounds. Infection may occur within one month or it may also take up to one year.
- Raised or plain lesions on the skin of cattle
- Animals become stunted
- Generally the symptoms can be seen in all or most of the members of a herd
- Cattle warts may appear as small cauliflower like swellings
- Warts may first appear on the sides of the ears and then spread to other parts of the body
How it Affects Cattle
Warts are usually more of an appearance problem than a physical problem. Cattle warts usually shrink and drop off after a few months. But they can affect the cattle in several ways. In some cases, warts may also infect large areas of the body. This may interfere with normal functioning of the body part. Some types of warts erupt in the venereal regions. This may cause pain, deformity and infection of the penis of young bulls. Cows and heifers may also suffer from discomfort and pain if tissues inside their reproductive system are affected.
Warts can be seen in almost any environment. The virus which causes cattle warts in cattle is resistant to extreme cold and heat. It is not uncommon to find cattle with warts during all months of the year and in all forms of cattle.
Warts usually fall off or shrink after about six months. The usual practice is to leave them unattended. Some good wart ointments are available in the market. If cattle warts continue to persist then surgery may be required.
Vaccines & Prevention
Commercial vaccines to prevent cattle warts are useful if there hasn’t been any previous infection. Autogenously vaccines can also be prepared by a veterinarian.
References and Resources
- Cattle Warts, Bovine Papillomatosis - Purdue University
- Warts on Cattle - Petalia
- Warts on Cattle - Queensland Government
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