Hoof Lesion Prevalence in 3 Canadian Provinces

By Steve Mason on

Twenty-five professional hoof trimmers in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario recorded hoof lesion occurrence during regular trimming visits using the Hoof Supervisor® computerized recording system. A total of 80,533 individual cows were examined in 578 herds across the 3 provinces. In Alberta, 50.8% of these cows had one or more of the 14 claw lesions being recorded. In BC, 59.8% of cows trimmed had one or more lesions while, in Ontario, only 38.1% had lesions. Results are summarized in the table below.>/p>

Digital Dermatitis (DD) was by far the most common lesion among the cows examined, accounting for 40.0% of all lesions recorded. DD, commonly called ‘hairy heel warts’, ‘Mortellaro’s disease’ or ‘strawberry foot rot’ is a contagious infection caused by bacteria that thrive in moist, low-oxygen (anaerobic) environments such as manure and wet, contaminated bedding.

Next in order of prevalence were 4 lesions related to ‘claw horn disruption’ (CRD): sole ulcer, white line lesion, sole hemorrhage and toe ulcer. Together these four lesions account for 43.8% of all lesions recorded to date. Traditionally, these lesions were thought to result from feeding high-energy diets, leading to ruminal acidosis and laminitis – inflammation of the small blood vessels in the claw-forming tissue of the hoof. More recent research evidence suggests that events around calving may cause structural changes in tissues that suspend the pedal bone inside the hoof or in the digital fat pad than provides a cushion under the bone.

 AlbertaBritish ColumbiaOntario
Participating Farms15885335
Total Distinct Cows40,55815,93024,045
...with Lesions20,64450.8%9,52359.8%9,15638.1%
Digital Dermatitis13,24143.25,46437.94,48834.8
Sole Ulcer5,28417.22,14914.91,68413.1
White Line Lesion4,76015.52,05314.31,1068.6
Sole Hemorrhage1,9646.41,0267.12,89422.4
Toe Ulcer1,5044.97635.32131.7
Interdigital Hyperplasia 1,1413.74443.19687.5
Thin Sole7282.43062.11281.0
Foot Rot7332.42621.81331.0
Heel Erosion1990.6910.62802.2
Corkscrew Claw4031.3450.31551.2
Interdigital Dermatitis1780.61,61211.27696.0
Axial Fissure2700.91070.7400.3
Vertical Fissure2040.7210.1300.2
Horizontal Fissure480.2620.4100.1

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