Lameness

Lameness problems can affect productivity.

Alongside treating lameness in your herd, Penbode Farm Vets can also help identify the main causes and, using our unique and proven Lameness Reduction Plans, advise you on the most effective means to reduce lameness in your herd.  You could reduce your hidden cost of lameness by up to £18,000 per 100 cows by reducing lameness in your herd with Penbode Farm Vets' proven approach to tackling lameness on-farm. Penbode Farm Vets will work on-farm with you and your farm staff to develop simple, effective changes to tackle lameness on your farm. Using this plan and working directly with dairy farmers, has proven to help reduce lameness from 32% to as low as 25%. To help ensure you keep saving money, Penbode Farm Vets will regularly review lameness in your herd; helping to drive down the cost of lameness to you year on year.  Mention Total Hoof Care.


Why is lameness in cows important?


Lameness is one of the three most important issues in dairy herds. Not only does it compromise welfare but there is a significant cost associated with lame cows, including:

· Compromised welfare

· Reduced productivity

· Costs – both direct and indirect


To combat this, we offer:


Total Hoof Care – a partnership between Torch Farm Vets, Penbode Farm Vets and local hoof trimming expert David Rowe, aiming to prevent lameness through a combination of preventative foot trimming, mobility scoring and on farm assessment of lameness risks.


Mobility Scoring – our VetTechs are trained to assess cows walking one by one across a hard non-slip surface and then score them from zero to three. This should be done as regularly as possible, once a month being a good period, to allow early identification and therefore treatment. Records are also useful to assess prevalence of lame cows within a herd.


Acute lameness in individual cows – vets will lift up the feet and look for lesions. The lesion type and distribution is important for an accurate diagnosis and therefore allows for successful treatment and management strategies to be put in place. It is important to recognise why your cows are lame to allow future cases to be prevented.


Lameness investigations – there are multiple causes of lameness on farm:

· Infectious eg digital dermatitis, foul in the foot, slurry heel

· Non-infectious eg sole ulcers, white line disease

There are also a number of aspects of the managing cattle which can contribute to lameness:

· Environment – cubicle design, floors, walkways, farm tracks, tight corners, bedding, standing times in parlours

· Quarantine protocol – bought in livestock

· Footbathing – active ingredient, concentration, design, frequency of use

· Nutrition


As a result of lameness, cows may see:


· Reduced feed intake. Cows with painful feet will spend less time stood at feed spaces and will be less likely to move for food, which will lead to lower milk yield

· Increased time lying down. This leads to more lying on dirty floors, bedding and a higher risk of mastitis

· Reduced fertility. Reduced conception rates, less cyclic and more cystic. It is also harder to detect oestrus as the cow is less mobile. Lame bulls can’t mount cows, lame cows won’t stand to be mated.