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Early threshold protocol can reduce the prevalence of lameness in cows

K. A. Leach, D. A. Tisdall, N. J. Bell, D. C. J. Main, L. E. Green

AN ‘early threshold’ schedule for treating cows within 48 hours of being detected as lame was tested on randomly selected groups of cattle, on four commercial dairy farms in the UK. Farmers were asked to continue their normal procedures for identifying and treating cows for lameness throughout the study. Mobility of the cows was scored at 14 day intervals by a trained observer. Cows were randomly allocated to a control group or a treatment group (ET). For both groups, cows were enrolled into the study when they had at least two consecutive fortnightly mobility score values less than 2. They continued to be scored and animals in the ET group were considered eligible for treatment when they had a score of 2, even if they had not been identified as needing treatment by the farmer. Cows in the control group were treated by farmers at their discretion.

All 67 cows in the ET group were treated within two days of becoming eligible; only 12 of 101 control group cows were treated by the farmer and only two within …

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