Lameness Detection in Dairy Cows: Part 2. Use of Sensors to Automatically Register Changes in Locomotion or Behavior

By Bahr, C. and Pastell, M. and Saeys, W. and Sonck, B. and Thorup, V. M. and Van Nuffel, A. and Van Weyenberg, S. and Zwertvaegher, I., Animals (Basel), 2015
Research Paper Web Link / URL:
Despite the research on opportunities to automatically measure lameness in cattle, lameness detection systems are not widely available commercially and are only used on a few dairy farms. However, farmers need to be aware of the lame cows in their herds in order treat them properly and in a timely fashion. Many papers have focused on the automated measurement of gait or behavioral cow characteristics related to lameness. In order for such automated measurements to be used in a detection system, algorithms to distinguish between non-lame and mildly or severely lame cows need to be developed and validated. Few studies have reached this latter stage of the development process. Also, comparison between the different approaches is impeded by the wide range of practical settings used to measure the gait or behavioral characteristic (e.g., measurements during normal farming routine or during experiments; cows guided or walking at their own speed) and by the different definitions of lame cows. In the majority of the publications, mildly lame cows are included in the non-lame cow group, which limits the possibility of also detecting early lameness cases. In this review, studies that used sensor technology to measure changes in gait or behavior of cows related to lameness are discussed together with practical considerations when conducting lameness research. In addition, other prerequisites for any lameness detection system on farms (e.g., need for early detection, real-time measurements) are discussed.
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