2. Other body organs: more than 1 foot can be affected
3. Obvious signs: lameness of one or more feet, early stages; foot/feet are tender, later stages; black spots on sole, especially at "white line" area
4. Confirm diagnosis: lift and examine foot; pare away sole until black spots open to tract of pus, gas or dead tissue
5. Differentiate from; sole abscess
PROGNOSIS: Good (>90 percent) when treated early; fair (50:50) when treated after a lot of tissue damage occurs; poor (25:75) when secondary bacterial infection develops in affected area and foot becomes large and scarred.
Lame Cow Issue 4: Sole Abscess
Sole abscess is degeneration and decay of a spot of tissue deep in the sole of one digit of the foot. Sole abscess is usually not a bacterial infection; instead it is like a deep blister or bruise in the tissue which causes the development of liquid, sterile pus and gas. This fluid and gas causes pressure, pain and lameness.
- Temperature: normal
- Other body organs: usually only 1 foot
- Obvious signs: lameness of one leg, foot appears normal (no swelling of surrounding tissue), pare away one layer of sole to find a "black spot"; continue to pare away at the spot until the affected area becomes evident (liquid pus and gas oozes out)
- Confirm diagnosis: lift and examine foot; pare away sole until all black spots either disappear or lead to a tract of pus and gas
- Differentiate from: foot rot; foot/leg injury and laminitis
PROGNOSIS: Excellent (>95 percent), chronic infection will develop if the proper diagnosis and treatment is not made early; examine all lame cows immediately and start treatment as soon as possible.
Lame Cow Issue 5: Foot conformation/leg injury
Foot conformation/leg injury can be a variety of problems but these cause less than 5 percent of lameness in cattle. The cause of these lamenesses are either obvious (e.g. swelling of the leg, cuts or bruises) or are very subtle and diagnosed by ruling out the other 4 common causes of lameness.
The Importance of Training
Many times lame cow issues become chronic due to incorrect diagnosis and or delayed treatment. The success of your herd hoof health program depends upon how well trained your employees are to recognize symptoms and apply proper treatment protocols as determined by your veterinarian.