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Preventing Lameness In Dairy Cattle

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This material was presented by Dr. Ernest Hovingh for DAIReXNET. See the full presentation on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS6U8EJBp7A

Learn about lameness prevention in dairy cattle with a focus on footbaths! Dr. Hovingh discusses infectious and non-infectious lameness conditions, ideal design and placement of foot baths, appropriate solutions and handling, and more tactics to help you get the most out of this prevention tool.

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Preventing Lameness In Dairy Cattle

  1. 1. Ernest Hovingh eph1@psu.edu Dept. of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences Pennsylvania State University Preventing Lameness in Dairy Cattle
  2. 2. Identif y Manage Prevent
  3. 3. Preventing lame cows… • Requires knowledge of the causes of lameness… – Infectious – Non-infectious (“mechanical”)
  4. 4. Where does lameness occur? • Almost all lameness in cattle occurs in the feet… and most of that is in the outside claw of the hind feet
  5. 5. • Infectious – Primarily a bacterial infection problem • Non-infectious – Poor quality hoof (sole, wall, . white line) leading to . mechanical breakdown Why does lameness occur?
  6. 6. • Digital dermatitis (aka. hairy heel warts, strawberry foot, Mortellaro’s Disease) • Foot rot Infectious Lameness Conditions
  7. 7. • Risk factors – Introduction of infected animals / contaminated equipment – Wet and/or dirty feet – Damaged, irritated skin Infectious Lameness Conditions Photo credit: J. Shearer
  8. 8. • Prevention – Biosecurity – Keep feet dry, clean, & healthy! – Use of footbaths Infectious Lameness Conditions
  9. 9. • “New and improved” dimensions – Length: 10-12 feet – Width: 2 feet – Depth of solution: 4-6 inches – Step-in height: ~10 inches Footbath Design
  10. 10. 20”-24” 10”-11” +/-36” 10’–12’ Solution depth: 4”-6” Removable solid side panel/gate ~70⁰ Image credit: Hoards.com (with modifications)
  11. 11. “What’s the best thing to put in a footbath?” Footbath Solution Clean feet!
  12. 12. • Relatively little (properly controlled) research • Formaldehyde (5%), copper sulfate (5- 10%), acidified CuSO4 (~3%) etc. – Beware of very low pH solutions  may damage skin (try to stay at 4.0…no lower than 3.5) Footbath Solution porcelainfacespa.com/
  13. 13. • Ensure the solution is mixed properly – employee training and protocol compliance – Holzhauer, et al*: • initial concentration of formalin was inadequate in 56% of herds • by the second milking, 89% of herds had an inadequate concentration Footbath Solution heidelberg.de *Concentration of formalin in walk-through footbaths used by dairy herds. Vet Rec 2004.
  14. 14. • Number of days/week & times/day vary significantly! Footbath Frequency iconfinder.com
  15. 15. • Ensure the solution is replaced as needed – usually +/-200 cow-passes Footbath Frequency
  16. 16. • Heifers – If needed…and can be done properly • Dry cows – Preferably…if it can be done properly Footbaths – Dry Cows & Heifers
  17. 17. • Breakdown of sole, white line, wall or other parts of hoof Non-infectious Lameness
  18. 18. Non-infectious Lameness • Breakdown of sole, white line, wall or other parts of hoof
  19. 19. • The corium produces all of the structures of the hoof Protect the Corium
  20. 20. Force Exerted on Weight-Bearing Area 1,400 lb. cow Weight Distribution 7.75 in2/foot @60% bearing* Standing Walking Walking Front (50%) 45.2 lb/in2 90.4 lb/in2 150.5 lb/in2 Rear (50%) 45.2 lb/in2 90.4 lb/in2 150.5 lb/in2 (~.35 in2) ~30 lbs. ~30 lbs. *Calculations by D. McFarland Penn State University
  21. 21. Distribution of Weight-bearing Approximate outline of claws [added] Image taken from van der Tol et al., JDS 87:1732- Pressure in red zones is ~5X that in the light blue zones
  22. 22. No weight-bearing here when on this surface
  23. 23. • Protect the corium – Thickness of fat pad (digital cushion) – Thickness and ‘flatness’ of sole – Walking surfaces & cow comfort Preventing Non-infectious Lameness
  24. 24. Digital Cushion
  25. 25. Digital Cushion
  26. 26. Digital Cushion
  27. 27. Thickness & Flatness of Sole
  28. 28. Thickness & Flatness of Sole
  29. 29. Weight-bearing Approximate outline of claws [added] Prior to trimming After trimming Pressure in red zones is ~5X that in the light blue zones Images taken from van der Tol et al., JDS 87:1732-
  30. 30. • A cow interacts with the flooring & lying surfaces many (24) hours a day! Cow Comfort & Flooring Surfaces Eating Milking Standing, walking, etc. Drinking Resting
  31. 31. Many of these will be covered in another webinar in this series.  Access to stalls • Stocking density • Time away from pen  Design/construction of stalls • Stall size/dimensions • Improper stall structure  Maintenance of stalls • Uncomfortable resting surface • Poor stall/bedding management Cow Comfort & Flooring Surfaces
  32. 32. Many of these will be covered in another webinar in this series.  Compressibility/hardness of floor  Texture of floor  Other material between floor & claw • abrasiveness & friction  Weight of cow  Shape/conformation/hardness of foot  Motion of cow – speed, turning, etc. Cow Comfort & Flooring Surfaces
  33. 33. Motion of Cow
  34. 34. Motion of Cow
  35. 35. Motion of Cow 3 3 Shear stress in Zone 3
  36. 36. • Prevention is the best investment of time and resources • Preventive efforts should be targeted – Infectious vs. non-infectious lameness Conclusion Biosecurity Dry, clean, & healthy feet Use of footbaths Digital cushion thickness Sole thickness & ‘flatness’ Flooring & cow comfort

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