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Survey of lameness in British dairy cattle
  1. AM Russell,
  2. GJ Rowlands,
  3. SR Shaw and
  4. AD Weaver


During 1977 a survey was undertaken by practising veterinary surgeons of the incidence of different lesions causing lameness in dairy cattle. Forty-eight veterinary practices participated and they treated 7526 cases of lameness in 1821 herds. The average incidence of lameness among all cows was 5.5 per cent and the annual incidence among practices ranged from 1.8 to 11.8 per cent. Most lesions (88.3 per cent) occurred in the feet; the commonest were foul of the foot (16.7 per cent), white line abscess (15.6 per cent), sole ulcer (13.6 per cent), punctured sole and pus (10.4 per cent) and underrun heel (8.7 per cent). These proportions varied in different parts of the country. Eighty-four per cent of foot lesions occurred in the hind feet and of these lesions 85 per cent occurred in the outer claw; 42 per cent of foot lesions occurred in abnormally shaped claws. The remaining 11.7 per cent of lesions occurred in the legs and trunk, 76 per cent of which occurred in the hindlimb. Trauma was the main cause of leg lesions, which occurred most frequently in the joints and ligaments.

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