Newly Published Research Establishes Industry Benchmark for Claw Lesions 

Foot health records are useful in monitoring the degree of lameness within dairy herds, and perhaps more importantly, providing insights into the underlying factors causing lameness. Knowing the lesions allows consultants, nutritionists and veterinarians to fine-tune their investigation into the risk factors for the various lesions. Unfortunately, a limited amount of field data has existed within the industry to utilize for benchmarking major claw lesions present on confinement dairy operations.

A recent study published in Journal of Dairy Science (DeFrain et al., 2013) details findings from an analysis of foot health records from 17 confinement dairies. Objectives of this research were to merge claw lesion records from several dairy herds in order to establish a database that benchmarks major claw lesions, timing and possible reasons for why the lesions occur.

Claw lesion data (48,506 events) from 17 dairies (12 freestall; 3 combination; 2 dirt lot) were merged into one database. Data originated from approximately 40,900 cows from herds ranging in size from 500 to 6,000 cows in nine states in the United States and two international herds located in the southern hemisphere. The final database was partitioned and analyzed as two datasets: 1) eight herds recording only lame events (20,860 events; for summary of top lesions recorded, see Figure 1) and 2) nine herds recording both lame and trim events (27,646 events; for summary of top lesions recorded, see Figure 2).


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Download your free copy of the full journal paper (Analysis of Foot Health Records from 17 Confinement Dairies. DeFrain et al., 2013. J. Dairy Sci. 96:7329-7339) by completing the short form below.