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Detection and localisation of unilateral hindlimb pathologies in cattle using the cow pedogram
  1. Maher Alsaaod1,
  2. Esther Bucher1,
  3. Martina Feierabend2,
  4. Maria-Christina Haerdi-Landerer2 and
  5. Adrian Steiner1
  1. 1 Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse-Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2 Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. E-mail for correspondenceFarm Animal Clinic, Vet Suisse, Bern 3012, Switzerland; maher.alsaaod{at}

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Limb pathologies are a major concern in cattle welfare. Visual assessment of the gait pattern is the standard technique for limb pathologies detection.1 2 Shortened weight-bearing combined with prolonged swing-phase durations are typical of lameness caused by pathologies located in the digits. Stiff swing phase indicates a lameness caused by a pathology located in the proximal limb, as pain may result from muscle contraction and joint flexion.3 The following steps include the clinical localisation of limb pathologies: (1) adspection of a cow while standing and walking; (2) clinical examination of the hoof including the use of hoof pincers; (3) manipulation of the affected limb using flexion tests; (4) palpation of the affected limb; (5) and diagnostic local analgesia or temporary claw block fixation.4

Detection of slightly lame cows and non-lame cows with limb pathologies and those with early limb pathologies is most challenging.5 Therefore, the availability of a sensitive, objective tool to complement the clinical limb examination is highly desirable. A previous study showed that the cow pedogram can detect lameness caused by limb and claw pathologies with a very high accuracy.6 The aims of this study were to evaluate the validity of the cow pedogram, first to detect hindlimb pathologies, including the digits and, secondly, to differentiate between pathologies located in the proximal versus distal limb.

The study was carried out at the Clinic for Ruminants, Vetsuisse-Faculty, University of Bern. The cow descriptions are included in table 1. Twelve dairy cattle that had been referred to the clinic between February and April 2016 for pathologies not related to the locomotor system, without …

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