Prevalence of Digital Disorders in Zero-Grazing Dairy-Cows

By Frankena, K. and Metz, J. H. M. and Noordhuizen, Jptm and Smits, M. C. J., Livestock Production Science, 1992
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The prevalence of clinical and subclinical digital disorders in 2121 pure breed and crossbreed Holstein Friesian and Dutch Friesian dairy cows, housed all year round in free stalls, was determined in a cross-sectional study on 34 farms (average herd size 66 cows) in the Netherlands. At the time of claw trimming, in spring 1990, the following affections in the hindclaws were diagnosed (prevalence over all cows between brackets): dermatitis interdigitalis (83.1%), dermatitis digitalis (17.6%), phlegmona interdigitalis (0.4%), pododermatitis aseptice diffusa (4.5%), lesions (74.7%), ulceration at the typical place (5.5%) and at the white line (4.5%), widening of the white line (7.6%) and cavity in the sole (4.9%). A high prevalence of the subclinical digital disorders in zero-grazing dairy cows was found. Only 1.2% of the cows was clinically lame. Differences between herds were considerable. Herd prevalences ranged from 35 to nearly 100% for dermatitis interdigitalis and from 0% (4 farms) to 50% for dermatitis digitalis. On five farms phlegmona interdigitalis was found (totalling 9 cows). Six farms were free from typical solar ulcers. Cows in the second month of lactation tend to have the highest prevalences for most of the affections. Prevalences of most affections, if not significant, tend to increase with parity. For dermatitis digitalis and laminitis the opposite tendency was found. Heifers had the highest prevalences for dermatitis digitalis and pododermatitis aseptice diffusa.
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