Can I Really Prevent My Cows from Becoming Lame?

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Dr. Ernest Hovingh presented this material for DAIReXNET on October 8, 2012.

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Can I Really Prevent My Cows from Becoming Lame?

  1. 1. Preventing Lameness in Dairy Cattle from the inside out… …and the outside in.Ernest Hovingh eph1@psu.eduDept. of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences Pennsylvania State University
  2. 2. Dealing with lameness…• The P-I-M approach –Prevent lame cows –Identify lame cows –Manage/treat lame cows
  3. 3. Why does lameness occur?• From the inside out… – „Internal factors‟ affecting hoof health (genetics, laminitis, loss of cushioning, excessive pressure)• From the outside in… – „External factors‟ affecting hoof health
  4. 4. Why does lameness occur?• Physiological… – Production of hoof tissue• Mechanical… – Forces, pressures and stresses affecting hoof health
  5. 5. Metabolic disorders Nutrition • Milk fever • Lack of effective fiber • Ketosis • Poor feeding management • Incorrect forage:concentrate ratio • Poor rumen buffering • Weight loss Death of “gram negative” bacteriaInfectious diseases Endotoxin release Infectious claw disease • Digital dermatitis • Metritis Changes in blood circulation in claw • Septic arthritis • Mastitis • Foot rot Laminitis Genetics • Weakened claw capsule • Conformation Environment & • Horn quality • Poor quality horn formation management • Breakdown of support system in the claw Other? • Trauma & handling • Trimming• Heat stress / cow comfort • Cleanliness LAMENESS
  6. 6. A complicated puzzle• Cow-to-cow variation• Season-to-season variation• Farm-to-farm variation• Regional variation
  7. 7. P3 & the claw capsule P3 Claw capsule P3
  8. 8. Different areas of the corium• Tissue between P3 Coronary band & heel & claw capsule that Hoof wall „makes‟ the claw capsule White line Sole Photo courtesy of C. Mülling, Berlin
  9. 9. Why does it matter?• Unhealthy/damaged corium = poor quality/ defective claw tissue (sole, heel, wall, etc.) = more susceptible to infection, mechanical damage, etc.
  10. 10. Interrupted production of sole tissue P3Corium Sole
  11. 11. Sole ulcer P3Corium Sole
  12. 12. Damage to the corium• Pressure (+/- bruising) reduces blood flow to corium• Interaction of trimming, P3 housing, nutrition, heat stress, hygiene, handling, etc.
  13. 13. Healthy feet – from the outside in… • “External” factors affecting the quality/ health of the hoof: – Cow comfort – Animal handling & movement – Trimming – Nutrition – Heat stress – Hygiene & foot bathing
  14. 14. 1. Cow comfort• Excessive standing  prolonged pressure on corium  poor quality hoof tissue produced by corium
  15. 15. 1. Cow comfort• Access to stalls – Stocking density – Time away from pen• Condition/comfort of stalls – Stall size/dimensions – Improper freestall/tiestall structure – Uncomfortable resting surface – Poor stall management
  16. 16. Access to stalls• Stocking density – Overcrowding reduces resting time 14 Lying in stall 13 Standing in alleys 12 Hours/day 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 100% 109% 120% 133% 150% Stocking density (cows/stalls) Fregonesi et al. J Dairy Sci. 90(7):3349-
  17. 17. Access to stalls • Stocking density – Overcrowding reduces resting time (Fregonesi et al, 2007) – Reduces available feeding space – NFACC Code of practice (Canada)  1.2 cows/stall max – UK/EU?  require 1.1 stalls/cow!Taking Advantage of Natural Behavior… http://tinyurl.com/eXtensionarticle1 Credit: Dan McFarland
  18. 18. Access to stalls • Stocking density – dry & transition cows – Even more critical than lactating cows – Strongly suggest staying under 100% - definitely not over!…Pen Moves and Facility Designs… tinyurl.com/eXtensionarticle2
  19. 19. ® HOBOdataloggers
  20. 20. Cow 1646 - Total Lying Time 16 14 12Lying Time 10 (9.5 hr) 8 6 4 20 after dry off Dry period 2 10 day pre-calving Post Calving 0 38794 38804 38814 38824 38834 38844 38854 38864 38874 Date
  21. 21. Cow 1448 - Total Lying Time 18 16 (15.2 hr) 14 12Lying Time 10 (Cow 1646) (9.5 hr) 8 6 20 after dry off 4 Dry Period 2 10 pre-calving post-calving 0 40025 40035 40045 40055 40065 40075 40085 40095 Date
  22. 22. Calving Ease 10 days pre-calving 1 3 (Unassisted) (Medium pull)Avg. # lying bouts per day 7.3 6.9 Avg. length of bout 2.1 1.7 Total lying time 12.3 hr. 10.9 hr. Pilot data, Penn State Veterinary Extension
  23. 23. Time away from pen/stalls• “Time out-of-pen”  max. ~3 hr./day – Include time in headlocks/palpation rail for management purposes
  24. 24. Time spent out of pen for milking: 14 cows, milked 3X; four separaterecordings, over 4 months. Cook & Nordlund. Veterinary Journal. 179(3):360-
  25. 25. Photo: M. Ventorp, SLU
  26. 26. Condition/comfort of stalls• Stall size, structure & condition that allows cows to: – Get in, lie down, get up, get out…(easily!)
  27. 27. Goal: 80-90% (or more!) of the cows in the stalls should be lying down If less than ~75%, lamenessprevalence in pen is likely >20% (Cook et al, 2004)
  28. 28. Condition/comfort of stalls• You don‟t need a measuring tape…
  29. 29. Condition/comfort of stalls• You don‟t need a measuring tape…
  30. 30. Improper stall structure/design Hovinghcowgettingupvideo1.avi
  31. 31. Uncomfortable resting surface
  32. 32. “Cows spent 2.3 less hrs/day lying in freestalls when thelevel of sand was 5.4 inches below the curb vs. „full‟stalls. On average, cows spent 25 fewer minutes lyingdown in freestalls for every inch below the level of thecurb.” Drissler, M., et al. JDS. 2005
  33. 33. Graphic: D. McFarland, PSU
  34. 34. Sand bedding on asphalt stall base
  35. 35. Outer hoof wallP3 Lamina (corium)
  36. 36. 2. Animal handling/movement• Poor/improper handling & movement  increased mechanical stress & trauma  increased wear & damage to weight- bearing area of foot
  37. 37. The floor-foot interaction• Weight of cow• Compressibility/hardness of floor• Texture of floor - macro & micro• Other material between floor & claw - abrasiveness - friction• Shape/conformation/hardness of foot• Motion of cow – speed, turning, etc.
  38. 38. The floor-foot interaction Hardness: resistance toindentation/deformation, resistance to friction/abrasion
  39. 39. The floor-foot interactionHardness: resistance to indentation/deformation, resistance to friction/abrasion
  40. 40. Force Exerted on Weight-Bearing Area 1,400 lb. cow Weight 7.75 in2/footDistribution Standing WalkingFront (50%) 45.2 lb/in2 90.4 lb/in2Rear (50%) 45.2 lb/in2 90.4 lb/in2 31.5 lbs (~.35 in2)
  41. 41. Mechanical stress/damage Prior to trimming After trimming Approximate outline of claws [added] van der Tol et al., JDS 87:1732-
  42. 42. Freestalls Travel lanesParlor Holding pen X
  43. 43. The floor-foot interaction
  44. 44. The floor-foot interaction
  45. 45. Friction/abrasion Hoof wall White line Sole
  46. 46. Friction/abrasion
  47. 47. Rotational shear stress
  48. 48. Case farm• 75-cow dairy, ~25-30 lame cows in the past year (some with repeat episodes) • Somewhat more common in 2nd and greater lactation animals; no DIM trend; more cases in late summer/early fall; occasional case in dry cows• High proportion of cases were white line abscesses in zone 3
  49. 49. Case farm• Zone 3 abscesses
  50. 50. Case farm• Occasional toe abscess or sole ulcer• Very little evidence of sole hemorrhage, sole ulcers, digital dermatitis, foot rot, etc.• Relatively shallow heels on most cows• Freestalls (75+) with access to exercise paddocks – good stall usage; minimal heat stress abatement
  51. 51. Case farm• Flat parlor (old tiestall barn) – milk ½ herd at a time freestalls step step small Flat milking „parlor‟ ramp
  52. 52. Case farm
  53. 53. Case farm
  54. 54. Case farm
  55. 55. Rotation of leg while moving
  56. 56. 90o turn, not hurried Hovinghwalkvideo1.avi
  57. 57. Rotation of leg while moving
  58. 58. 180o hard turn, hurried Hovinghwalkvideo2.avi
  59. 59. Animal handling• Calm & slow! (No prods, dogs, or hollerin‟)
  60. 60. Exiting stallHovinghwalkvideo3.avi
  61. 61. Exiting stall
  62. 62. Animal handling/movement• Technique used to move animals can have a significant impact on hoof wear, and cause damage to claw tissues – Getting cows out of stalls improperly Modified from: nottotallyrad.blogspot.com – Moving cows down alleyways, around corners – Causing animals t to crowd/shove/ push other animals
  63. 63. Case farm freestalls• Animal movement step step small Flat milking „parlor‟ ramp
  64. 64. 3. Trimming/lame cow care• Unbalanced claws  uneven weight distribution  (excessive) pressure on corium  production of unhealthy/ compromised sole/white line From Toussaint Raven“Cattle Footcare and Claw Trimming”
  65. 65. Optimize weight distributionFrom Toussaint Raven“Cattle Footcare and Claw Trimming”
  66. 66. Cow trimming/lame cow care• When / Which cows are trimmed?• Regular trimming of every cow - at least once per lactation cycle – preferably twice • Some cows may require very little trimming! – Clinically lame cows should be „treated‟ within 24 hours
  67. 67. Cow trimming/lame cow care• Who trims the cows? – Trained, on-farm person • Deal with lame cows within 24 hrs! – Vet • At least for advanced medical/surgical cases – Professional hoof trimmer • Primarily for routine/maintenance trimming
  68. 68. Cow trimming/lame cow care• How are they trimmed? – Flat soles should result in less pressure on any one point of the corium (see previous webinar) – Cows should NOT routinely become lame after trimming
  69. 69. Don’t go to far around the side!!¼ +”
  70. 70. Toe too short… NOT good!!
  71. 71. Don’t overtrim the Sole is dished andaxial (inside) wall! very thin (ouch!!)
  72. 72. 4. Nutrition• Rumen acidosis  death of bacteria in rumen  bacteria release “vaso-active” substances  absorbed into bloodstream  affect blood flow in foot  affect ability of corium to produce healthy hoof tissue. from Bovine Anatomy – An Illustrated Text. Budras, Habel, et al.
  73. 73. Nutrition• “Different” rations: (1) on paper, (2) as fed, (3) as eaten, (4) as digested… • Hopefully they‟re all the same, but…• Paper ration: – Excessive carbohydrate/starch (Thoefner et al., 2004) – Starch, starch:fiber ratio, etc.
  74. 74. Nutrition & rumen acidosis• Ration as mixed/delivered/fed; as eaten – Lack of effective fiber (particle length) • Chopped too finely • Overmixed – Sorting of ration components by cows
  75. 75. Sorting feed at the bunk Hovinghfeedsortvideo.avi
  76. 76. Nutrition & rumen acidosis• Penn State Particle Penn State Particle Separator Separator Resources – As delivered to the bunk tinyurl.com/particleseparator – At intervals after feeding (eg. 2, 4, 6 hours, etc.) – If significant (>4 or 5%) amount of variability is observed, sorting is occurring!
  77. 77. Don‟t forget about youngstock!• Need a balanced, high quality ration – Byproducts, waste feed, and feed refusals??
  78. 78. 5. Heat stress abatement• Heat stress  increased standing time  pressure on corium… AND/OR• Heat stress  rumen acidosis  altered blood flow in feet…• … defective/ poor quality claw tissue (sole, white line, hoof wall, etc.)  more susceptible to infection, mechanical damage, etc.
  79. 79. 5. Heat stress abatement
  80. 80. 5. Heat stress abatement Maximum: 30 feet for a 3‟ (dia.) fan~30° 40 feet for a 4‟ (dia.) fan Airspeed: 3-5 mph over cows Minimum: 8 feet
  81. 81. 6. Keep the feet clean & dry!Photo credit: J. Shearer
  82. 82. 6. Keep the feet clean & dry!
  83. 83. 6. Keep the feet clean & dry!
  84. 84. Preventing lameness…• Cow comfort• Animal handling/movement• Trimming• Nutrition• Heat stress• Hygiene
  85. 85. Ernest Hovingh eph1@psu.eduThank you!

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