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Cattle lameness
Bone density changes in bovine toe necrosis
  1. Roger Blowey1,
  2. Jason Burgess1,
  3. Becky Inman2 and
  4. Nick Evans3
  1. 1Wood Veterinary Group, 125 Bristol Road, Gloucester GL2 4NB
  2. 2Royal Veterinary College, Royal College Street, London NW1 0TU
  3. 3Department of Infection Biology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZJ
  1. e-mail: rogerblowey{at}

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PREVIOUS reports in Veterinary Record have noted the increased incidence of cases of toe necrosis in dairy herds and their association with bovine digital dermatitis (BDD) (Atkinson 2011, Evans and others 2011, Blowey 2012a). Initially, it was considered that toe necrosis was similar to other non-healing horn lesions. Here, we would like to support the suggestion by Holzhauer (personal communication) that there appear to be important differences.

During an examination of the bony changes associated with non-healing lesions (Blowey 2012b) it became visually apparent that the pedal bones from digits amputated as a result of toe necrosis were not only shorter but were also less dense (ie, they had developed an osteoporosis, so much so that they even felt lighter to handle). To test this hypothesis, pedal bones were taken from both amputated claws and random abattoir samples. The bones were dried to a standard …

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