Best Practice: Develop a Lameness Detection Protocol
Regular monitoring of the herd for lameness allows for early detection and early intervention. Weekly or biweekly identification and treatment prevents the number of lameness cases in the herd from building up. The number of cases in the herd can be tracked from week to week to identify trends or trigger further investigation if needed.
Locomotion scoring of the entire herd is recommended to identify lame cows. A variety of scoring systems are available to guide you. At the farm level, the most important goal is to identify which cows need further attention. For this purpose, a simplified lame yes/no system is typically adequate.
Below are a variety of resources that can be used to train staff in lame cow identification.
3-Part Scoring Systems:
4-Part Scoring System: DairyCo
4-Part Scoring System: DairyNZ
5-Point Scoring System:
Zinpro Locomotion Scoring
Best Practice: Utilizing Lameness Treatment Protocols
Treatment protocols ensure that each cow is treated with the appropriate actions and the effectiveness of treatments can be monitored over time.
Best Practice: Develop a Lameness Record Keeping System
Lameness can be caused by a variety of different conditions, and understanding the common causes of lameness in your herd can guide your treatment and prevention plans. Maintaining records of lame cow and preventive trims will allow you to track trends over time.
A variety of mechanisms can be used to record lame cows and the lesions associated with them. Key pieces of information that should be recorded for every lame and hoof trimmed cow are:
- Cow identification
- Lameness cause diagnosis
- Treatment applied
- Drug withdrawals if applicable
Best Practice: Lameness Prevention
Lameness is a complex disease and there is no simple fix for any lameness problem. Both cow factors such as body condition score and environmental factors such as increases in standing time can impact lameness.
How to judge a hoof trim
Dairy Herd Management on 08/01/2015, by Shirley Roenfeldt
Hoof Trimming with a Grinder
Hoof Trimming with Knives
Best Practice: Develop a Comprehensive Employee Training Program on Lameness
All employees should be trained to identify and report lame cows they encounter during the course of their duties. Other specific duties should be trained according to job description.