To investigate the association between locomotion score and the presence of hoof lesions, researchers examined 10,699 cows from 91 dairy herds in southern Chile. Locomotion score was recorded on a scale of 1-5 using the Sprecher system. Lesions were recorded by observation of all four feet with each cow standing in a metal crush. Locomotion scoring was a relatively insensitive method for the detection of some important claw lesions.
After more than 28 years working as a hoof trimmer in the dairy industry and, like many others, seeing the many changes within the dairy industry, I think a simple question has to be asked: “Why is lameness increasing as an issue?”
‘Hoof Signals’ provides all the practical knowledge a farmer needs to get hoof health on his dairy farm under control with easily understandable descriptions, clear drawings and lots of photographs.
A study at the University of BC showed how neck rail placement affects cows’ ability to stand in their stalls. The closer the neck rail was to the rear curb, the more time cows spent standing with only the front hooves in the stall and the less time they were able to stand with all 4 hooves in the stall. When cows were housed with the neck rails at 190 cm, gait score improved; at 130 cm, gait score worsened.
Over the last few years, veterinarians at the University of Wisconsin have developed a plan to organize lameness recording and the recruitment of lame cows on small and large dairy herds. The basis for the plan is to clearly define and separate routine TRIM events from clinically LAME events.
Pasture rearing can improve hoof health, perhaps due to the change in the physical environment or to associated factors such as change in diet. Fewer cows become lame during the grazing season and cows kept outdoors are less prone to claw disorders than those that are housed indoors. Despite these advantages in hoof health, switching from indoor housing to pasture is not a practical option for many producers. But providing a rest period on pasture for lame cows may be a more practical option.
Researchers in Sweden investigated the long-term effects of different flooring systems on the weight distribution, contact area and contact pressure on the claws of dairy cows housed in a free-stall barn.
At the 2008 Nova Scotia Dairy Focus conference, Roger Blowey, the prominent British hoof health veterinarian, described the 6 main factors implicated in dairy cattle lameness: calving, excess standing, free stall comfort, free stall bedding, heifer rearing practices and diet.
‘Bovine Laminitis and Lameness’ describes the anatomy of the bovine hoof and claw and the causes of lameness, including the importance of genetics, structural conformation of the leg and hoof, nutrition, management, cow comfort and facilities that minimize injuries.
‘Firm Steps’ is a CD-Rom set (2 disks) that will help you detect lameness early so you can take the necessary action to improve the welfare of your cattle and reduce the severity of your financial losses. Learn how to gait score by looking at seven specific behaviours that indicate lameness.