26 March 1999


&#8226 HORN lesions account for 60% of lameness cases, according to a DAISY survey. Reading Universitys Dick Esslemont explained that 36% of lameness was caused by skin lesions, 2% leg problems and 1.5% had no specific reason.

&#8226 CONSIDER using second-hand rubber quarry belting as they do in California for cows to walk on or to stand on at the feed face. This rubber belting will protect cows feet from concrete, said Gloucester vet Roger Blowey.

&#8226 NUTRITION has improved while claw horn disruption around calving has become worse, so its not as much to blame as some may believe, according to John Webster.

Claw horn disruption occurs four to six weeks before calving when they are under minimal nutritional stress.

However, more research is needed into how nutrients are partitioned in this period and into the influence of hormones. Roger Blowey argued, however, that some of the worst lameness outbreaks have been caused by poor nutrition, so it shouldnt be totally dismissed.

&#8226 ADEQUATE loafing areas are vital to reduce risks of digital dermatitis spread, said Roger Blowey.

Digital dermatitis is more common in herds that use automatic scrapers and have limited loafing area.

He suspects that loose muck, occurring when feeding wetter silage, may also increase digital dermatitis and mastitis risks.

&#8226 UNNECESSARY foot trimming is counter productive, says Roger Blowey. Lift and examine cows feet but only trim when necessary or when you need to check for white line lesions. Trimmers can take too much off; feet may look beautiful but cows must also be able to walk on them. &#42

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