28 February 1997

Records help keep a track

RECORDING all foot treatments is the key to identifying the causes of lameness and identifying ways to reduce herd incidence.

Stephen Brandon and his herdsman, Anthony Renwick, have detailed lameness records for their 160-cow herd. And Mr Renwicks foot trimming training at Reaseheath College has allowed him to diagnose lameness cases accurately. Computerised records have been kept for three years.

Richard Murray of the Liverpool vet school used these records to work out repeat treatments and new cases and so to calculate annual incidence of new cases and information on the causing factors. To include a whole winter in the figures, a March year-end was used.

"The annual incidence in 95/96 was 65 new cases for each 100 cows; this had reduced to 52/100 cows in 10 months of 96/97," says Dr Murray. "Average incidence in the 37 farm lameness study, with a range of housing, was 70 cases/100 cows. Lowest incidence was 15/100 cows, the highest 180/100 cows."n


LAMENESS RESEARCH


Lameness research now allows:

&#8226 A useful critical appraisal of farm data.

&#8226 Precise identification of major lesions and how they originate.

&#8226 The adviser can recommend specific areas for directing efforts to control lameness.

Study conclusions:

&#8226 You can position a cow in a cubicle without a headrail.

&#8226 The cubicle can be made attractive to the cow.

&#8226 Floor surfaces are important .

* The lameness studies were sponsored by MAFF.


Lameness incidence at New Buildings Farm

Apr 95-Apr 96-

Mar 96Feb 97

Total new cases/100 cows6552

  causing factor: % of   all lameness cases

Overloading   outer claw3946

Infections1823

Poor hygiene157

Others58

Injuries/interdigital   foreign bodies2314