Four hundred and twenty-seven cases of first-reported foot lameness were recorded in 17 dairy herds in Somerset during the winter housing period. Lameness was classified into three categories: sole ulceration, digital disease (white line abscess, foreign bodies in the sole and pricked or punctured sole), and interdigital disease (lesions of the skin between claws and heel including foul in the foot, interdigital fibroma and dermatitis). In addition, a 'clinical effect score' was calculated to take account of the severity of lameness, the structures involved and the time for which the cows were clinically affected. The fertility records of lame cows were compared with those of the healthy cows nearest in parity and stage of lactation. In the lame cows the interval from calving to first service was four days longer, and the interval from calving to conception was 14 days longer than in the control cows, the pregnancy rate to first service was 46 per cent (controls 56 per cent), 2.14 services were required per conception (controls 1.72) and 16 per cent of lame cows were culled (controls 5 per cent). Lameness, first reported in the period 36 to 70 days after calving, was associated with a significant (P less than 0.01) increase in the interval from calving to first service of eight days; and sole ulceration, in the period 71 to 120 days after calving, was associated with an increase of 11 days (P less than 0.05). Lameness in all periods up to 120 days after calving was associated with significantly increased intervals from calving to conception (P less than 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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