17 March 1999
Hormonal link to lameness in heifers

HORMONAL changes in diary heifers as they approach the birth of their first calves may be a key factor in the onset of lameness, says a leading scientist.

Professor John Webster, an animal welfare expert at Bristol University says lameness is now third in economic importance behind mastitis and infertility.

Lameness has already been linked to genotype, nutrition, housing and behaviour but Prof Webster is convinced of the link to birth in first-time calving heifers.

He said superficial haemorrhages in hoof horn composition were evident in heifers six weeks before calving, and often developed into lameness 12 weeks later.

  • The Scotsman 17/03/99 page 30