Speed: your ally in keeping lameness at bay

You wake up one morning and do the routine check on your cows. You notice that one of them is showing signs of lameness. Do you then start wondering what would be the best time to check her out?

I often hear this question from dairy producers. In a recent conversation, one told me that a “good producing cow” of his showed lameness. This had him asking himself that same question.

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Good cow?

Let me start by saying that the question about timing is indeed a great one. But you know what struck me first when that producer came up with his query? His use of the word “good.” A cow is only good if you can keep her on all her feet and walking without problems. Otherwise, before you know it, she will go from “good” to “average” and eventually to “cull.”

Speed always matters

Let’s look for the answer by considering another question. Would you wait before treating a cow with mastitis if you noticed it one morning? Probably not! This is also the attitude we all need to adopt when dealing with lameness.

The quicker you determine the cause of lameness and tackle it, the better your chances of successful treatment. My advice here is to make it easy and safe: handle the cow by putting her in a hoof trimming chute. Don’t try to treat feet in your parlour – it will take a huge toll on your back!

Bet big on prevention

As we all know, prevention is critical for ensuring good health, both in humans and animals. To help prevent lameness issues, make sure you trim your cows at regular intervals. This is important because excessive horn growth can cause sole ulcers and other problems.

If lameness continues to plague one or more of your cows, seek professional help from your hoof trimmer or veterinarian. I hope you get your animals back on their four feet soon! If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me through the Contact page.

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