Alberta’s Lameness Reduction Initiative (LRI) was designed to identify housing and management factors that contribute to the development of hoof lesions. The LRI provided an opportunity to improve collaboration, knowledge and communication between farmers, advisors and veterinarians and for each farm to identify weaknesses and design targeted management and facility changes.
The adoption of a standardized, computer-based system for recording hoof trimming data (Hoof Supervisor® – HS) has made it possible to collect and analyse that data for application in herd benchmarking and genetic improvement. To that end, a Canadian research project is in progress to develop a process for data interchange between HS-equipped trimmers and the national Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) database and on to the Canadian Dairy Network, the national dairy genetics organization. Recently, Francesca Malchiodi with the Canadian Dairy Network, presented a project update at the ICAR 2018 Conference held in Auckland, New Zealand.
At the 2018 Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, Dr. Gerard Cramer explained how cows can become chronically lame if damage to their hooves is not treated early and if there is no follow-up evaluation.
Danish researchers compared the efficacy of digital dermatitis detection in the milking parlour with and without first washing feet with a water hose. In all infected herds examined, DD prevalence was higher when scored after washing.
A Danish study examined the relationship between biosecurity practices and digital dermatitis (DD) prevalence in 39 freestall herds. Lax external and internal biosecurity practices were associated with significantly higher risks of elevated DD prevalence.
Whether to bandage or not to bandage after treating digital dematitis (DD) lesions remains controversial. Results of a study reported at the 2017 Conference on Lameness in Ruminants indicate that bandaging improved DD cure rates.
Researchers at the University of Guelph reported the results of a study designed to evaluate whether the ability of dairy cows to mount an immune response could be related to susceptibility to digital dermatitis (DD) infection. They showed that cows demonstrating a strong antibody-mediated response to an intramuscular antigen challenge had a lower prevalence of DD than cows showing an average or weaker response.
Gerard Cramer’s research group recently surveyed published research studies that examined the effects of hoof trimming on animal behaviour, physiologic changes and efficacy in reducing lameness. Although these studies revealed that hoof trimming may initiate a stress response, change behaviour, improve components of weight bearing, and reduce lameness in specific environmental conditions, few of the studies described the trimming method used in enough detail to determine effects of method on any of these outcomes.
Nigel Cook recently reviewed current footbath practices used in dairy herds, questioned the mechanism by which footbaths function, and reviewed the available scientific literature for guidelines to assist in the creation of best practices for their use. Based on that review, a summary of his recommendations for footbath design and management is presented.
Sara Pedersen, a prominent UK veterinary consultant who specializes in hoof health, presented her recommendations for digital dermatitis (DD) control at the recent UK Cattle Lameness Conference. Her ‘blitz’ treatment approach is designed to break the cycle of environmental contamination of the bacteria that cause DD, recognizing that these Treponemes only survive in slurry for up to 24 hours.