Effective Treatment of Claw Horn Lesions

By Steve Mason on

A recent study in the United Kingdom evaluated the efficacy of 4 different protocols for the treatment of claw horn lesions – primarily sole hemorrhages and/or ulcers and white line lesions. Five commercial farms having a herd lameness prevalence of over 20% were studied; lameness was defined as a locomotion score greater than 1 using the 0-3 score DairyCo system. Farm size ranged from 187 to 353 lactating cows.

Cows on each farm were locomotion scored every 2 wk. Cows were eligible for study recruitment if they had 2 non-lame scores (0) followed by a lame score (1-3) and had a claw horn lesion on a single claw of a single foot. Following a therapeutic trim, enrolled cows were randomly allocated to 1 of the 4 treatments described below:

CodeTreatmentDescription
1 - TRMTherapeutic trim only1. Therapeutic trim applicable to the lesion
2 - TBTherapeutic trim plus foot block1. Therapeutic trim applicable to the lesion
2. Application of a foot block to the unaffected claw
3 - TNTherapeutic trim plus NSAID1. Therapeutic trim applicable to the lesion
2. Administration of a 3-day course of ketoprofen administered by deep intramuscular injection at 3 mg of ketoprofen per kilogram of BW
4 - TBNTherapeutic trim plus foot block plus NSAID1. Therapeutic trim applicable to the lesion
2. Application of a foot block to the unaffected claw
3. Administration of a 3-d course of ketoprofen administered by deep intramuscular injection at 3 mg of ketoprofen per kilogram of BW

Cows were re-examined 5-11 days after treatment. If a foot block had been applied as part of the treatment protocol (TB or TBN) and it was no longer present, it was reapplied. If locomotion score had deteriorated from that at the time of enrolment, the cow was re-treated. Animals in groups TB and TBN were re-examined for a second time 25-31 days after treatment. If the block was still present, it was manually removed using trimming pincers and careful leverage.

The efficacy of each treatment protocol was evaluated as locomotion score 35 days after initial treatment; a score of 0 indicated a cure. Cure rates for each of the treatments are illustrated in the graph below.

Efficacy of Claw Horn Lesion Treatments

The results of this study suggest that lameness cure is maximized with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID: ketoprofen) treatment in addition to the common practices of therapeutic trimming and elevation of the diseased claw using a block when cows are newly and predominantly mildly lame.

The full peer-reviewed report of this study is available here.

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