Development of claw traits and claw lesions in dairy cows kept on different floor systems

By Frankena, K. and Metz, J. H. M. and Noordhuizen Stassen, E. N. and Schouten, W. G. P. and Somers, Jgcj, Journal of Dairy Science, 2005
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Several claw shape measurements, horn hardness, and horn growth and wear were recorded monthly at 12 dairy farms to investigate the effect of floor type and changes in these traits over time. Herds were either housed on a slatted floor (SL), solid concrete floor (SC), grooved floor (GR), or on a straw yard (SY). Twenty cows per farm were selected and stratified by parity. Information on claw traits was recorded on right lateral hind claws between October 2002 and May 2003. In addition, lesion development of interdigital dermatitis and heel erosion (IDHE) and digital dermatitis ( DD) was studied in both rear feet. No differences in claw traits were detected among groups on different floor types, with the exception of claw angle. Claw angles were smallest in cows on SY. Claws of cows on SC were steeper than those on SL and GR. The study provided no evidence that floor-related differences in claw lesions were related to differences in horn growth, wear, and resulting claw shape. Lesions of IDHE developed gradually over time and did not differ among flooring types. Cows in SY had the smallest lesion scores for DD, whereas cows on SL had significantly less DD than cows on SC and GR. Incidence of DD fluctuated over time. Development of different stages of DD was monitored in-depth. Both early and healed stages were rather changeable and often turned into other disease stages. Classical ulcerative lesions (stage M2) persisted for a long time, with 20% of the initially unaffected claws having active lesions of DD within 5 mo. The M2 lesions generally did not cure effectively after claw trimming, and frequent use of footbaths resulted in a poor prognosis for recovery.
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