Article Text

Effects of stage of lactation, month, age, origin and heart girth on lameness in dairy cattle
  1. GJ Rowlands,
  2. AM Russell and
  3. LA Williams

Abstract

Lameness in herds during one year was commonest in the first month of lactation (15 per cent of all cases). Leg lesions were particularly common at this time (24 per cent of all cases of leg lesions) but white line abscess and sole ulcer were more common a month later. Foul-in-the-foot was one of the two most common lesions at all stages of pregnancy and lactation, and white line abscess the most common (20 per cent of all lesions) in late lactation. Both sole ulcer and underrun heel had lower incidence in the second half of the year than the first. White line abscess was particularly common in March and November although there were significant interactions between month and veterinary practice; foul-in-the-foot was most common in October. Susceptibility to lameness increased with age; 10-year-old cows were over four times more likely to develop lameness than three-year-old cows. This was due particularly to increased incidence with age of white line abscess and sole ulcer and, to a lesser extent, underrun heel. In contrast, foul-in-the-foot and leg lesions showed little change with age. Whereas these lesions accounted for 68 per cent of the total in cows up to two years old, they accounted for only 15 per cent of all lesions in cows over 10 years old. White line abscess was slightly commoner in cows with large heart girths.

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