DairySmid Hoof Trimming - Lameness Why Explore This Topic

Lameness: Why Explore This Topic? – Part 1

In association with The Dairy Mail and the MPO, we decided to plough back the knowledge gained over the past 24 years regarding lameness. The South African dairy industry is unique because of its diversity. In this new monthly column, we aim to answer all the frequently asked questions regarding the sound locomotion of dairy cows.


As South Africa follows the worldwide trend towards fewer but larger dairies, we are seeing an increasing number of lame cows. Surely, as dairy producers, we do not simply have to accept lameness as one of the disadvantages of having a big dairy. No, this condition is manageable, but there is a lot that we need to learn about it. In this column, we want to emphasise the prevention of lameness and make more dairy producers aware of the factors that promote it.


Our intention is not to focus on how to treat different lesions, but rather explain why they occur. Many questions spring to mind. Why do we see more lameness in dairy cows than in beef cows? Why do we see more lameness in the hind feet than in the front feet? Why do we see lameness in the dry months as well as in the wet season (when it’s understandable that cows go lame)? Why do some cows recover from lameness, while others do not? Why do only some cows respond to antibiotics?


There are other questions we need to ask. What influence do facilities, concrete walkways, cattle handling, genetics, crowding pens, heat stress, and feeding, among others, have on lameness? By listing all these questions and addressing these factors, we can reach a point where we are able to explain how to treat lameness.

As seen in The Dairy Mail – November 2020

Photo source: vwalakte
Guest Writer & Consultant to DairySmid: Jaco de Bruin

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