These information sheets are provided for your interest. They should not replace veterinary advice from your veterinary surgeon.

Whilst every effort is taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information provided at the time of writing, your specific circumstances must be discussed before advice can be given.

Lameness in cattle (introduction)

Lameness is a major cause of reduced welfare in cattle, as well being the third largest loss of income to the dairy herd (after mastitis and sub-optimal fertility). Around a quarter of all dairy cows suffer with lameness each year. The average cost of a case of lameness is between £150 and £200. Therefore a dairy unit with 100 cows and average incidence of lameness will be spending approximately £4000 a year on lameness.

Lesion distribution:

88% of lameness are due to a problem in the foot. 86% of foot lamenesses are found in the hindlimb. 85% of hindlimb lamenesses are found in the lateral claw. The reason for this is that during walking around 80% of the hindlimb weight is borne by the lateral claw. Forelimb lamenesses are evenly distributed between the medial and lateral claws.

Causes of foot lameness:

Interdigital necrobacilosis (Foul in the Foot)

White line disease

Sole ulcers

Digital dermatitis

Laminitis