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Step-Up® Locomotion Scoring System

Locomotion scoring is based on the observation of cattle walking (gait), with emphasis on head bob and stride length. This system is intuitive and easy to learn and implement. Use of locomotion scoring is effective for:

  • Early detection of claw (hoof) disorders
  • Monitoring prevalence of lameness
  • Comparing the incidence and severity of lameness between groups
  • Identifying individual animals for treatment and/or functional claw (hoof) trimming

Normal: Animal walks normally, with no apparent lameness or change in gait. Hind feet land in a similar location to front feet.

Mild Lameness: Animal exhibits short stride when walking, dropping its head slightly. Animal does not exhibit a limp when walking.

Moderate Lameness: Animal exhibits obvious limp, favoring affected limb(s) that still bears weight. A slight head bob is present when the animal is walking.

Severe Lameness: Animal applies little or no weight to affected limb and is reluctant or unable to move. While walking, animal’s head will be dropped and back arched, with head bob and limp detected.

The Step-Up® locomotion scoring system uses a simple 0 to 3 scale to assess the severity of lameness in beef cattle. Observations should be made on a flat surface that provides good footing. Cattle scoring 1 or higher should be examined to determine cause of lameness. Appropriate treatment and management practices should be applied to minimize the economic loss due to lameness and improve overall animal well-being.