Lameness Prevention

Any lameness action plan must take into account the factors below if it is to be successful.

1. Environmental factors.

  • Enable the cow to enter and leave cubicles easily
  • Ensure the cow can lie down and rise without interference
  • Ensure the cow can stand or lie in the stall comfortably
  • Avoid the rear feet constantly being in contact with slurry and urine
  • Take care with slurry cleaning and scraping
  • Provide soft dry bedding – particularly for pre-calving heifers
  • Check flooring condition –? renew poor concrete, concrete grooving, avoid variable heights
  • Observe cows daily – watch for foot injuries
  • Treat cows promptly and place in straw yard/ pen for recovery
  • Regular foot bathing greatly reduces lameness in most cases
  • Regular foot trimming is also important

2. Nutritional factors

  • Avoid Rumen acidosis
  • Take care in heifer rearing to avoid laminitis

3. Inherited factors

  • Avoid selecting replacement heifers from cows with poor conformation, gait or hoof type
  • Use Bulls with good classification for leg and hoof conformation

Locomotion scoring can be used to assess the progress of a lameness action plan.