Lameness prevention

10 January 1997

Lameness prevention

WHITE-LINE disease has been the most common cause of severe lameness seen by vets so far this winter, according to independent vet consultant Tony Andrews.

The disease, caused by a weakened bond between the hoof wall and the sole which becomes infected, often occurs due to poor nutrition around calving when cows are introduced to a high energy diet too quickly. But the infection takes two to three months to grow to the outside of the claw.

"Then, as the damaged part reaches the surface bugs, dirt or stones penetrate the crack causing further separation inside the hoof."

Infection risks can be reduced by ensuring passageways are clean and keeping cows feet dry to avoid the softening which allows infection easy access, he advises.

When cows are seen early, foot trimming can prevent lameness. But once lame the cow could have an abscess. Puss and dead horn must then be cleared out and a block put on the other claw when necessary.

He advises looking at all cows feet twice a year and four times where animals have suffered lameness before.

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