Genetic parameters for claw disorders in dutch dairy cattle and correlations with conformation traits

By de Jong, G. and Ellen, E. and Holzhauer, M. and Kamphuis, C. and van der Waaij, E. H., Journal of Dairy Science, 2005
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Impaired claw health is one of the major problems causing production loss and reduced animal welfare in dairy cattle. In response, the Dutch Animal Health Service (GD) Ltd. initiated this study, in which claws of lactating and near-term cows and heifers in 430 herds were trimmed by hoof trimmers and the health status of the rear claws recorded. Only herds with >75% of the animals having feet trimmed were considered, resulting in records on 21,611 animals. Eight claw disorders were scored: digital dermatitis (DD), interdigital dermatitis/heel horn erosions (IDHE), sole hemorrhage (SH), chronic laminitis (CL), sole ulcer (SU), white line disease (WLD), interdigital hyperplasia (HYP), and interdigital phlegmona (IP). The prevalence varied from 0.6% (IP) to 39.9% (SH). More than 70% of the animals had at least one claw disorder. Conformation traits and locomotion were recorded once during the animal's first lactation by trained classifiers of the Royal Dutch Cattle Syndicate and completely independent of the moment of claw trimming. Heritabilities were estimated using a sire model, and ranged from <0.01 (IP) to 0.10 (DD and HYP). Genetic correlations of incidences of claw disorders with locomotion were variable, ranging from 0.13 (SH) to -0.91 (CL). Genetic correlations with the rear leg conformation traits were lower, ranging from 0.04 (ID with rear leg side view) to -0.69 (IP with rear leg rear view).
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