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Is there a case for reassessing hoof-trimming protocols?
  1. Roger Blowey, BSc, BVSc, FRCVS
  1. 125 Bristol Road, Gloucester, GL2 4NB, UK
  1. Becky Inman, Final year
  1. Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hertfordshire, AL9 7TA, UK
  1. e-mail: rogerblowey{at}

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PREVIOUSLY published correspondence in Veterinary Record has described changes in the pedal bone in dairy cows in relation to sole ulcers (Blowey 2012). In the initial measurements, the thickness of the pedal bone at the flexor tuberosity in cows with sole ulcers was 4 mm greater than in non-affected cows. We have since performed further measurements on 46 hooves (91 pedal bones) and 24 amputations using a Laser digital vernier caliper. In view of the variation we found in pedal bone dimensions, we would like to propose that protocols that employ a standard dimension of the dorsal wall for foot trimming are reconsidered.

Bovine legs, from foot to tarsus or carpus, were selected at random from an abattoir that processed only barren cows. These were then boiled for eight hours, cooled and the pedal bones removed by blunt dissection. The pedal bones and their associated hooves were then soaked in 10 per cent formalin solution for two weeks, washed, then dried before examination (Fig 1). The results of our measurements are summarised in Table 1.

FIG 1:

(a) The dorsal wall was measured along the longest point from the toe to the top of the extensor process (b) The base of the bone was measured …

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