Find a professional claw trimmer in the UK
Audited trimmers can also be found on the Cattle Hoofcare standards board website www.hoofcareregister.co.uk. A professional claw trimmer will:
- Arrive promptly with clean and disinfected equipment which is safe and well-maintained.
- Correct claw over-growth to prevent future lameness (and no more, no less for sound cows).
- Treat lame cows compassionately and with effective treatments, knowing the limits and when to refer to a vet.
- Keep up-to-date with the latest concepts in claw trimming, treatment and prevention.
- Leave records, discuss causes of lameness and communicate well on aftercare of cases with all the farm team (including nutritionists, consultants and vets).
You should be very concerned if cows that were previously sound goes unexpectedly lame within 4 weeks after routine trimming. A professional trimmer will preserve important parts of the claw (see picture below).
Trimmers will vary in their trimming style. For example, some trimmers might model the inside hind claw (left of picture) less and the outer claw (right of picture) more. The optimal style could vary between cow and herd, and there is no evidence to support one style over another at the moment. Research is being conducted, supported by AHDB.
All trimmers can make occasional errors; however, it is a concern that some trimmers feel under pressure to trim a foot to ‘look pretty’ for certain customers while other customers accept functional may not be pretty. To understand the difference it’s important to go back to some basic principles and so most experts agree the following are faults which can produce over-trimmed claws in most situations (but like all concepts these may be challenged and open to change in light of new evidence):
1. Trimming toes too short – 7.5cm from top of hoof where claw goes hard may be too short for many Holsteins.
2. Trimming soles so they start to flex (too thin).
3. Removal of side walls including between the claws.
4. Excessive removal from heels, especially the inside hind claw.
5. Unnecessary exploration of minor (non-painful) claw horn defects (the potato mistake).
6. Over-estimating the amount to remove to balance heels or toes (achieving balance at all costs).
7. Overlooking signs that the pedal bone had sunk or shifted position e.g. dorsal wall buckles.
NACFT maintain an up-to-date list of licensed trimmers in the UK who are qualified to diploma level (Dutch diploma or NPTC level 3) and have attended biennial check days. This association facilitate the on-going education of trimmers in the UK. The list of licensed trimmers can be found at http://www.nacft.co.uk/wp/findtrimmer/
To demonstrate added confidence in their professionalism and qualifications, a group of UK trimmers are supporting the use of spot-assessment by independent inspectors, to examine cows they have trimmed. They allow their records to be scrutinised and their clients to be contacted to verify the quality of their work. Further details can be found on their website – Cattle HoofCare Standards Board.
Please let us know of other schemes from around the world.