General description
  • A bruise is a localized bleed (and subsequent swelling and inflammation) into tissues, typically the skin and underlying muscle.
  • Bruises mostly following injury.
  • Bruised tissue must be trimmed at meat inspection. Severely affected carcases are condemned.
  • Most bruising is due to injury.
  • Injury can occur in yarding, handling and transport or by other cattle (especially horned cattle).
  • Poorly designed or maintained yards (especially with protruding objects), rough handling and slippery surfaces contribute to bruising.
  • Cattle with bad temperament are more prone to panic and subsequent trauma.
  • Poor mixing, loading and stock density (too few or too many) can contribute to bruising during transport.
Clinical signs
  • Bruised cattle may not show outward signs, but severe bruises may produce obvious swelling, pain, lameness and/or external wounds.
  • Bruised sites are diagnosed as red/black swellings at meat inspection.
  • Affected sites are trimmed or the carcase condemned if severe.
  • Treatment depends upon diagnosis of the cause of bruising.
  • Ensure cattle are polled or dehorned
  • Don't mix cattle of widely different weight, age or sex
  • Minimise handling by drafting in advance, and travelling direct to the abattoir
  • Use yards that are well designed so cattle flow well
  • Use well designed loading ramps - Loading ramps, if not designed correctly, can impede animal movement and cause injury. Loading ramps should be non-slip and less than 25° slope, preferably with stepped incline
  • Ensure there are no projecting objects such as rails, bolts or gate catches
  • Handle cattle quietly, without dogs and electric prodders
  • Avoid boxing strange cattle in confined places such as yards or trucks
  • Ensure trucks have a non-slip floor and no protrusions
  • Minimise time on the trucks, and eliminate double handling if possible
  • Use a carrier with training or accreditation in low-stress handling
  • If cattle go down, get them up immediately and allow them space
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