21 March 1997


TREATMENT and prevention of lameness are made easier by specialist training and foot trimming facilities.

At Stephen Brandons New Buildings Farm, Stafford, herdsman Anthony Renwick now trims all cows feet at drying off, having attended a foot trimming course at Reaseheath College, Cheshire, four years ago.

Checks on historic figures for 93/94 have shown the impact of preventative foot trimming at drying off. The number of cows that now need attention for overgrown feet or lameness has reduced, says Mr Brandon.

In 95/96 only 97 new cases of lameness needed treating in the 150 cows – 65 cases/100 cows. In the 11 months of 96/97 only 52 lameness cases/100 cows have been treated.

Mr Brandon installed a foot trimming crush three years ago. This is within the cows yard allowing the cow being treated to see others in the herd causing less stress on the animals and the foot trimmer, says Mr Renwick.

"Good prevention means trimming to the right level without going too low so they go lame," says Mr Renwick. And as most of his cows go dry in the summer they do not have to go back onto concrete after foot trimming.

Vet Richard Murray adds that research in Denmark shows that routine claw trimming in winter and putting cows back in the same environment increases lameness risks. Horn growth is affected by the cows environment and some cows will need extra trimming to avoid lameness. But when a cow has to go back into the same environment do not overtrim, he advises. And when possible after winter trimming put cows in a straw yard.

Anthony Renwicks preventative foot trimming of all cows at drying off has reduced lameness incidence.


&#8226 Trimming at drying off works best.

&#8226 Dont overtrim – cows will go lame.

&#8226 Avoid routine trimming in winter.