A three year study of practice records of lame cows and meteorological data on rainfall suggests a correlation between rainfall and incidence of lameness in dairy cattle. Over a 12 month period requests to treat lameness in 1256 cattle were received by one six-person practice and were the subject of a detailed survey. The incidence on the 150 farms where lameness was recorded was 7.33 per cent, 92.2 per cent of lameness occurring in the foot. White line disease (34.9 per cent), pricked sole (20.4 per cent), foul in the foot (14.3 per cent) ulcerated sole (11.4 per cent), and foreign body (4.8 per cent) accounted for 85.8 per cent of the 927 recorded foot lesions. Hind feet lameness appeared more common in older cows, but this was not shown to be the case with front foot lameness. Lameness also appeared to be most common in early lactation and of relatively low incidence in the dry period. The seasonal distribution differed between the lesions, ulcerated sole being more common February to May, foul in the foot and white line separation in the autumn, and white line abscess and pricked sole in the autumn and winter months.
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