“Lameness is one of the key diseases from a welfare standpoint,” says veterinarian Gerard Cramer of Cramer Mobile Bovine Veterinary Services in
Correct this problem by creating a lameness-management program that is specific to your herd. Make these components part of your program:
- Good records. Record cows that become lame and what lesions are present at routine hoof-trimmings. These data allow you to look across time and spot trends when troubleshooting lameness problems.
- Comfortable, clean and dry housing. This reduces standing time and exposure to manure which is the major source of infectious foot lesions like digital dermatitis and foot rot.
- Foot baths. Treat the claws on your cows’ feet just as you would treat her teats. Use routine foot-bathing and spraying to protect a cow’s feet from infectious lesions just as you use proper teat-dipping to control mastitis.
- Routine evaluations. Create a routine lame-cow detection and hoof-trimming schedule that allows you to evaluate and treat lame cows promptly.
- Minimize metabolic stress. Metabolic problems that lead to sub-acute ruminal acidosis also play a role in hoof horn lesion development.
- Teamwork. A team approach is necessary for making your foot-health management program work.