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Lameness in Cows

How to Reduce Lameness in Cows and Cattle

Reducing lameness in cows and cattle is a goal for farmers and hoof care specialists across Ireland, and it’s not as difficult as it might sound. Reducing lameness is fully achievable with a process of early detection and treatment, combined with a new approach to feeding and grazing, and we can help you to attain this target this year. 

A recent study by Teagasc involved visiting herds of dairy cows and scoring them for mobility to provide comparative data. Findings showed that ‘average lameness prevalence was 7.9% during grazing and 9.1% during housing… [and]… the most prevalent lesion types found in lame cows were white line disease, sole haemorrhages and overgrown claws.’ Mobility scoring is a useful tool for farmers to identify lameness and treat it promptly and this data helps to reinforce the importance of the process. 

Tips to Reduce Lameness

There are many small changes you can make to your practice to help reduce lameness in your herd. For instance, the following have all been highlighted by Teagasc as ways to make improvements:

1. Regular foot bathing. Foot bathing is an important way to control infections such as digital dermatitis and carrying it out on a regular basis can make a big difference to lameness in your herd. Our Hoofed Footbath and Spray Solution targets and kills the specific bacteria which lead to diseases that cause lameness.

2. Improving walking practice. It may sound obvious, but the risk of lameness increases significantly when the ground your cattle walk on is poor quality, uneven and/or stony, and an investment in this area could make a big difference to the health of your herd. Cows that are made to walk quickly and pass through crowded gateways can be more likely to develop problems and it has even been found that cows who are required to make a sharp turn after milking have an increased risk of lameness. Re-thinking your setup and infrastructure may seem like an impossible expense, but the loss of revenue due to decreased fertility and reduced milk yield is considerable and this is well worth considering. 

3. Addressing housing factors. Cows are at much greater risk of lameness if their housing conditions are unsanitary, and poor hygiene can cause several hoof infections. Your cows should have a clean, hygienic covered area with comfortable places to lie down, which will reduce the pressure on the hooves caused by too long spent standing. They should also have plenty of space when grazing and when being fed, to reduce stress.

4. Improving diet. Cows that have a poor diet with a lack of essential nutrients that will affect the construction and durability of hooves are more likely to experience lameness. A well-balanced diet that keeps your cows at the correct weight will ensure healthier hooves and a lower risk of inflammation and lameness. 

5. Routine hoof trimming. Hoof examination and trimming if needed should be carried out at least once a year. Checking the hoof health of your cattle is one of the most important ways to prevent lameness in your herd and establishing a good routine here can make a big difference. The Inspect 4 Rollover Crate gives you a new approach to the process, making routine hoof care easier to manage, even making it possible to manage single-handedly. An Inspect 4 Rollover Crate is an investment in the health of your animals and will make your life simpler, allowing you to inspect and trim hooves quickly and comfortably. 

You can find more information about preventing lameness in your herd in the Teagasc Guidelines here or talk to us for advice and support on any aspect of caring for your cattle in Ireland. 

Reduce Lameness in your Cows with HoofCare Direct

Here at HoofCare Direct, we’re dedicated to helping you to reduce lameness in your animals. We have a great range of products to support you in reducing lameness from your herd and we will be happy to talk you through our products and show you a demonstration of Inspect 4 Rollover Crates in action. Inspect 4 Rollover Crates are designed to be set up in less than 20 seconds from the cow entering the crate, with all four feet restrained hydraulically. Our crates are suitable for cattle of all sizes, including large bulls, and can also be used for teat sealing and other procedures. 

An Inspect 4 Rollover hoof trimming crate is a game changer, saving you time and effort and simplifying routine hoof maintenance for you and your team. Talk to our experienced staff at HoofCare Direct to find out more about the Inspect4 Mobile Hoof Trimming Crate and the Inspect4 Fixed Hoof Trimming Crate today.

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