Solutions to prevent losses in cattle due to limping

When it comes to cattle and pain in their paws. The pain is evidenced in changes in the body language of the cow and this is used as a basis to classify the severity of the limping. Limping is defined as a change in pace, is a clinical sign of various diseases or disorders, and […]

When it comes to cattle and pain in their paws. The pain is evidenced in changes in the body language of the cow and this is used as a basis to classify the severity of the limping.

Limping is defined as a change in pace, is a clinical sign of various diseases or disorders, and is considered one of the most painful conditions for livestock

The pain is evidenced in changes in the body language of the cow and this is used as a basis to classify the severity of the limping. The incidence of limping has increased worldwide and its importance has been reflected in the production of dairy herds, being an important issue in animal welfare and genetic selection that should be performed not only for dairy production but for characteristics such as conformation of legs and feet, resistance to diseases, and other factors that contribute to longevity and functional efficiency of the anatomy of the cow.

Here at Victorian Hoof Care Services you can forget about limping because we will take care of cattle’s hooves properly and help you keep your cow healthy and strong for dairy production. You can trust real experts in the area with many years of experience in the field of hoof care.

Risk factors in limping cattle

The risk factors in limping may be related to reproductive disorders or mastitis and the conditions of foot pad lesions may be caused by metabolic, traumatic, or infectious origin alterations.

In dairy production, limping has a great economic impact for farmers, in veterinary and drug costs, decrease in milk production (20% less in peak lactation due to pain), milk loss due to antibiotic residuals, time used in treatments, sacrifice of animals not recovered, loss of body condition and decrease in weight gain. Although there are several estimates of the corresponding costs for each case of lameness, an approximate value is USD $ 350 per limp cow.

Reproductive efficiency is also altered by the effects of limping due to pain, the cow decreases its ability to ride during heat, indicators such as OD (open days) are increased, there is a lower conception rate (decreasing up to 25%) and increases the incidence of cystic ovaries up to 14% more than is normally evident. On the other hand, the high level of bacterial endotoxins can generate a negative effect on ovarian function and there are other direct or indirect effects for the longer time the cow spends prostrate, loses dominance and is less competitive in obtaining food.

At the time of establishing a treatment for limping due to pod dermatitis, other important aspects should be taken into account for an adequate resolution, such as: general comfort, clean spaces for rest, quality water supply, short waiting time in milking rooms and conditions hygienic of said areas and waiting spaces, as well as in general facilities, acclimatisation of concrete floors, nutritional factors, avoiding ruminal acidosis due to nutritional factors, making a regular hoof arrangement and supplying minerals in diet that maintain the integrity of the hoof.

Antibiotic treatments

The conventional antibiotic treatment for many years included the use of penicillins that over time have presented bacterial resistance. Currently, the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics accompanied by anti-inflammatory-analgesics is indicated or in the case of generation of micro abscesses in pod dermatitis, the reinforcement of the antibiotic treatment with fibrinolytic enzymes (Quimotripsyn) is indicated, which allows the perfusion and action of the antibiotic within the different anatomical structures of the hoof.

The cow must respond to the antibiotic treatment within the first 48 hours, otherwise it is necessary to suspect antimicrobial resistance, an incorrect diagnosis, or an inadequate dose. The success of the treatments includes the appropriate selection of the antibiotic treatment, dosage and application indicated. Cephalosporins are drugs of choice for their excellent results in the treatment of limping.

For instance, in Colombian market there are a series of antibiotic products that generate high residuality in milk, generating direct economic losses to the producer. Virbac Colombia is positioned in the Citius 5% market: a third-generation broad spectrum cefolosporin that generates fast and effective antibacterial concentrations, a high-quality product in its manufacture, easy to apply to the producer, and whose most important advantage over other products is to have zero withdrawal time in milk.

This characteristic contributes directly to the reduction of economic losses due to lameness in the livestock production of our country.

Taking care of the hooves

A key to preventing infectious diseases of the hoof is an appropriate maintenance of the leg. The hoof tends to grow about five millimetres per month. Depending on the support surface, the hoof will wear out in variable indexes. The finger tends to wear more slowly because it is harder, and the heel wears faster because it is softer.

The objective of cutting the hoof is to distribute the weight evenly between the two paws of the paw, leaving enough hoof to protect the corium or internal hoof, and to cut the claws to their normal size and shape. Thus, the weight of the cow must be evenly distributed on all four legs.

Cutting cattle’s hooves about two months before calving helps cows to establish the first lactation giving shape to the claws. After this, most cows tend to need a cut twice a year. Logically, the cow should be groomed when it is dry. Check the median lactation also to see if an extra cut is needed. Problematic cows will probably need a cut even more often.

Selecting cows with genetically healthy feet will reduce the number of cows prone to hoof problems.

You must keep in mind that there are plenty other aspects that affect cattle’s health such as feeding habit, hygiene and the environment where they live. There are many other aspects that affect cattle as well. If you keep cattle, then take advantage of our comprehensive hoof trimming service to ensure the health and wellbeing of your cows. Contact us now.