How to Judge a Hoof Trim

By Steve Mason on

While a good hoof trimming program is an essential component of lameness prevention, poor trimming technique can create lameness. The Lameness Committee of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) has produced a fact sheet aimed at helping veterinarians and producers to objectively assess a herd hoof trimming program. The AABP fact sheet is available here. Common trimming errors identified in the fact sheet include:

  1. Excessive removal of the abaxial wall of the hoof. The claw side wall should be healthy and show faint horizontal ridges. It should not be pale in color and smooth, and there should be no evidence of grinder tracks.
  2. Trimming the toes too short. The length of the dorsal claw wall should be 3 inches, from the hard horn approximately midway down the periople to the toe.
  3. Excessive trimming of the heel of the inner claw of the rear foot. There should be no evidence of trimming on the heel side the abaxial groove (the line on the side wall where the perioplic horn wraps around to join the horn of the wall).
  4. Removal of the axial wall of the toe of the inner or outer claw. Modeling the axial wall area should occur only above the horizontal lines demarcating the point where the axial wall white line leaves the bearing surface.
  5. Trimming the sole too thin. The healthy sole should be at least 7
    mm thick and not give under firm thumb pressure or reasonable pressure with hoof-testers.
  6. Trimming the sole of claws with extreme concavity, rather than flat. There must be at least 0.75 inches of sole horn adjacent to the white line on the inner and outer claw that is trimmed perpendicular to the long axis of the limb, to provide claw stability.
  7. Shortening of the toe without proper reduction of sole thickness. Overgrowth in the toe should be removed by shortening the toe and thinning the sole in the toe region to leave 5 mm (1/4 inch) of thickness at the cut end of the toe.

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