Occurrence, diagnosis and treatment of hoof diseases in dairy cattle
Ommundsen, Maren Tengesdal
Hoof diseases in dairy cattle is an increasing problem as can be seen in the number of research projects all over the world. It influences a farm in more than one way, and has a considerable economic impact. Many factors play different roles in the various diseases, and there is a rising interest in discovering the best possible bedding, and which factors influence the hoof in which way. Preventive measures are taken by more and more farms and they vary in what they might entail. Some use preventive or routine trimming twice a year, which can be combined with foot baths. But it is also important to pay attention to the regular gait and movement of the cattle in the every day work, in order to diagnose a condition as early as possible and thereby save potential loss in milk yield and fertility problems. The farm Aranykocsi zrt. in Kocs, Hungary, is a free-range dairy cattle farm with around 600 cattle at these premises. Previously it had some problems with ruminal acidosis which was rather widespread in the herd. This was treated, but the hooves demonstrated the consequences this entailed both immediately in the form of laminitis, but also later as “double hooves”. The “double hooves” require then further trimming before the hooves are back to normal again. In addition to that problem, the farm also had a few cows with Mortellaro's disease. Which they treated depending on the severity with either an antibiotic spray or Intra Hoof-fit gel and bandage for four days. A few ulcers could be seen at the farm as well, these were either small enough to be trimmed away, or a block was applied to the healthy one of the claws. This farm has taken its precautions when it comes to hoof diseases. They are therefore trimming the animals routinely twice a year, and foot-baths are regularly used. This helps to prevent the disease, but can not replace the treatment. Therefore when the veterinarian on the farm recognise a problem, he has a separate device in which he can properly diagnose and treat the animals.