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Use of force sensors to detect and analyse lameness in dairy cows
  1. M. Kujala, DVM1,
  2. M. Pastell, PhD2 and
  3. T. Soveri, DVM, PhD1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Production Animal Medicine
  2. 2 Department of Agrotechnology, University of Helsinki, Pohjoinen Pikatie 800, Saarentaus, Helsinki, 04920 Finland


Force sensors were used to detect lameness in dairy cows in two trials. In the first trial, leg weights were recorded during approximately 12,000 milkings with balances built into the floor of the milking robot. Cows that put less weight on one leg or kicked frequently during milking were checked first with a locomotion scoring system and then with a clinical inspection. A locomotion score of more than 2 was considered lame, and these cows' hooves were examined at hoof trimming to determine the cause and to identify any hoof lesions. In the second trial 315 locomotion scores were recorded and compared with force sensor data. The force sensors proved to be a good method for recognising lameness. Computer curves drawn from force sensor data helped to find differences between leg weights, thus indicating lameness and its duration. Sole ulcers and white line disease were identified more quickly by force sensors than by locomotion scoring, but joint problems were more easily detected by locomotion scoring.

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