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I HAVE previously written to Veterinary Record to suggest that the indications for digit amputation in cattle have changed considerably over the past few years (VR, August 27, 2011, vol 169, pp 236–237). Lesions such as toe necrosis, non-healing white line lesions – sometimes known as wall ulcers – and non-healing sole lesions are, in my experience, now by far the most common indication for amputation. They accounted for 17 of the 21 cases I have amputated in the current year. It has been proposed that non-healing lesions are associated with secondary infection by the treponemes of digital dermatitis, and that this disrupts the corium so badly that insufficient hoof horn is produced to allow lesion healing.
In all of the above cases the pedal bone has been removed and …