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Influence of floor surface on claw health in dairy cattle

C. H. Haufe, L. Gygax, B. Wechsler, M. Stauffacher, K. Friedli

CLAW lesions and lameness are widespread in dairy cattle and are considered to be an important animal welfare problem. Flooring type and quality have been implicated as a trigger factor for some lesions. This study investigated the influence of floor surface and access to pasture on the claw health in dairy cattle kept in cubicle housing systems.

The claw health of dairy cattle on 35 farms with solid rubber, mastic asphalt or slatted concrete flooring was investigated. Cows on half of the farms per floor type had access to pasture during the grazing period. Each farm was visited three times at approximately six month intervals, at the end of the winter indoor-housing period and at the end of the summer period. The claw health of the same 10 cattle per farm was assessed at each visit during routine claw trimming.

The proportion of cattle with haemorrhages increased from mastic asphalt to rubber to slatted concrete floors. A lower proportion of cattle kept on asphalt was affected by white-line fissures and needed intermittent claw trimming. Cattle housed in cubicles with a …

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