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Evaluation of a gait scoring system for cattle by using cluster analysis and Krippendorff’s α reliability
  1. Nina Volkmann,
  2. Jenny Stracke and
  3. Nicole Kemper
  1. Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Animal Behaviour, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Hannover, Germany
  1. E-mail for correspondence; nina.volkmann{at}


The aim of the presented study was to validate a three-point locomotion score (LS) classifying lameness in dairy cows. Therefore, locomotion of 144 cows was scored and data on claw lesions were collected during hoof trimming. Based on latter data a cluster analysis was performed to objectively classify cows into three groups (Cluster 1–3). Finally, the congruence between scoring system and clustering was tested using Krippendorff’s α reliability. In total, 63 cows (43.7 per cent) were classified as non-lame (LS1), 38 (26.4 per cent) were rated as LS2 with an uneven gait and 43 (29.9 per cent) cows were ranked as clearly lame (LS3). In comparison, hoof-trimming data revealed 64 cows (44.4 per cent) to show no diagnosis, 37 (25.7 per cent) one diagnosis, 33 animals (22.9 per cent) two diagnoses and 10 (7.0 per cent) more than two. Comparing the respective categorisation received by either the cluster analysis or LS in between groups, a high correspondence (79.4 per cent and 83.7 per cent) could be found for LS1 and cluster 1 as well as for LS3 and cluster 3. Only LS2 had partial agreement (21.1 per cent) to cluster 2. However, Krippendorff’s α was 0.75 (95 per cent CI 0.68 to 0.81), indicating a good degree of reliability. Therefore, the results of this study suggested that the presented LS is suitable for classifying the cows’ state of lameness representing their claw diseases.

  • dairy cattle
  • lameness
  • locomotion
  • validation
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  • Funding The project is supported by funds of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany via the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) under the innovation support programme.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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