To estimate the accuracy of subjective locomotion scoring, 7 experienced observers were asked to score video recordings of the locomotion of 58 cows on two different occasions. Agreement between scores for each cow assigned by individual observers on the 2 occasions averaged 67.4%. Agreement between observers scoring the same cows averaged only 58.2%
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.
The US National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program advocates the use of a simple 3-point locomotion scoring system to identify lame dairy cows.
A short video clip illustrating slow motion gait analysis reveals how walking on hard surfaces causes trauma to the claw leading to sole hemorrhage, white line lesions and sole ulcers.
The dairy cattle locomotion scoring system developed at Michigan State University and recommended by Zinpro is based on the observation of cows standing and walking (gait), with special emphasis on their back posture.
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.
‘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.
Through detailed study of cow movement, researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a gait scoring system based on detailed observations of animal movement.