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Nutritional Causes of Lameness


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Nutrition affects lameness and hoof health in a variety of ways. Learn about both direct and indirect impacts of nutrition, such as acidosis and metabolic diseases, as well as how interactions between nutrition and environment can play a part.

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Nutritional Causes of Lameness

  1. 1. NUTRITIONAL CAUSES OF LAMENESS Robert Van Saun, DVM, MS, PhD Extension Veterinarian Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences Penn State University
  2. 2. Is Diet the Problem? • Factors contributing to pH load in rumen o Dietary starch content o Degradability of starch source o Dietary fiber content o Effectiveness of fiber to stimulate chewing o Dietary buffers
  3. 3. “Rumen acidosis” LAMENESS Weakened claws • Poor quality horn formation • Breakdown of support system in the claw Metabolic Disorders • Milk Fever • Ketosis Genetics Changes in blood circulation in claw Increased lactic acid production Lowered pH Infectious Diseases • Metritis • MastitisDeath of “gram negative” bacteria Endotoxin release Rumen Nutritional Factors: • Lack of Effective Fiber • Poor Feeding Management • Incorrect Forage:Concentrate Ratio • Poor rumen buffering Laminitis Environment/Management: • Trauma & Handling • Trimming • Heat Stress • Cleanliness • Cow Comfort Adapted from Hoof Care for Dairy Cattle, 1992. J.E. Nocek Transition Nutrition Transition Diet: Protein, Trace minerals, vitamins
  4. 4. Rumen Fermentable Carbohydrates Environment Ruminal pH The Balancing Act Buffer Production Acid production
  5. 5. SARA – Rumen pH High Forage Diet High Grain Diet
  6. 6. • Feed sorting • Not pushing up feed • Too small particle size • Over mixing • Inadequate bunk space • Empty bunks
  7. 7. If a great deal of fermentable material, usually mostly carbohydrate, reaches the hindgut, then diarrhea may occur due to an extensive hindgut fermentation and we may see mucins in the manure Courtesy of MB Hall
  8. 8. Clarke et al., 1990 Damaged Barrier Colonic Lumen Colonic Mucosa H+ Histamine Endotoxin and Acid Absorption H2O, Protein Capillary Mast Cell Bacterial Death Fermentable Carbohydrate Load Hindgut Acidosis?
  9. 9. BCS and Lameness • Thin cows at calving had 7-fold increased risk for lameness (Gearhart et al., JDS 1990) • Increased BCS loss increases lameness risk (Hassall et al., Vet Rec 1993) • Cows with low BCS at calving are at 9.4 times greater risk for lameness (Hoedemaker et al., Repro Dom Anim 2008) • Odds of lameness 1.6 times greater in cows with low BCS (≤2.5) than in cows with a higher BCS (Solano et al., JDS 2015)
  10. 10. Digital Cushion Thickness (DCT) • Prevalence of sole ulcers and white line disease associated with DCT • Upper quartile cows had adjusted 15% lower prevalence • BCS is associated with DCT • DCT nadir occurred at 120 DIM Bicalho RC. J Dairy Sci 2009;92:3175-3184
  11. 11. Bicalho RC. J Dairy Sci 2009;92:3175-3184
  12. 12. BCS and Lameness Solano et al., JDS 2015
  13. 13. Lameness Risk DCT Quartile Adjusted Prevalence of Horn Lesions, % Adjusted Odds Ratio 95% Confidence Interval Lowest 24.4 3.4 1.6 – 7.2 Next Lowest 28.1 4.1 2.1 – 8.2 Next Highest 14.5 1.9 1.0 – 3.6 Highest 8.6 ----- ----- Bicalho RC. J Dairy Sci 2009;92:3175-3184
  14. 14. Solano et al., JDS 2015 Leg injuries
  15. 15. Key Points • The role of nutrition in lameness is multi- dimensional o Direct impacts (Acidosis, Minerals) o Indirect effects via BCS loss, metabolic diseases • Many interactions exist between nutritional programs and facilities or environment • The role of acidosis and laminitis may not be the sole mechanism linking nutrition to lameness
  16. 16. Thank You