Lameness detection and foot lesions identified during hoof trimming in lactating Holstein Friesian cows

Constantin Gavan


The present descriptive study was designed to identify the type of foot lesions found in lame dairy cows and to describe the distribution of foot lesions between front and hind limbs and lateral and medial claws. A total of 379 lactating Holstein Friesian cows were included in this study. All cows were scored for locomotion using a scale from1 (normal) to 5 (severely lame) based on gait and posture. Lame cows were defined as having locomotion score (LS) of 34 or 5. Each lame cow was properly restrained in trimming chute and each foot was examined for any lesion using Dutch 5 steps method. Lesions were identified in 231 cows. Infection type lesions were diagnosed in 52 cows (22.5%) and non-infection type lesions were diagnosed in 179 cows (77.5%). A total of 377 lesions were identified and the number of lesions recorded per cow ranged from 1 to 2 (median 1.6). Sole haemorrhage (SH), white line disease (WLD) and digital dermatitis (DD) made the majority of lesions. A higher mean number of DD, interdigital necrobacillosis (IN), WLD, and toe ulcer (TU) per cow was found in the ≥ 3 lactation cows compared with 1st or 2nd lactation cows. Increasing parity was associated with a increasing trend in mean number of infections diagnosed per cow. A higher proportion of cows was diagnosed with lesions on the hind limbs compared with front limbs (198 vs 33 cows). Fifty three lesions were found on the front limbs and 324 lezins were on the hind limbs. The hind lateral and medial claws were affected by 234 and 50 lesions respectively (72.2% vs 15.4%). Inspection of foot lesions as a routine management practice facilitates earlier identification and treatment of lesions enhancing herd productivity and welfare.


Lameness, foot lesions, Dairy cows, foot trimming.

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