What makes cows lame?

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Researchers used a three-point locomotion-scoring system to evaluate 1,450 cows on 19 Dutch dairy farms. The results show these factors were correlated with increased lameness:

A Dutch study shows that feeding corn silage to heifers was associated with an increased incidence of lameness.
  • Presence of a hoof-trimming stall equipped with a foot-lifting apparatus, compared to one not equipped with foot-lifting gear.
  • Presence of a footbath at the parlor exit or other site on the farm, compared with not having a footbath. (Increased lameness may have been due to improper footbath use on these farms.)
  • Not providing supplemental vitamins and minerals to lactating cows, compared with supplementing animals.
  • Feeding corn silage to heifers, compared with not doing so. (Rapid fermentation of corn silage in the rumen may lead to metabolic disorders which reduce hoof-horn development.)

Study results appeared in the May Journal of Dairy Science.




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