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Reducing the Burden of Dairy Cow Lameness

Lameness is important to the producer and the cow!

Lameness is an important disease to the dairy industry that results in:

  1. Pain for the cow.
  2. Frustration for cow caretakers.
  3. Lower milk production.
  4. More forced culling.
  5. Lower reproductive efficiency.

How does a dairy know it has a problem?

Find the lame cows through locomotion scoring, and compare your prevalence to your limit/goal.  Goals may vary from 5% to 20% of herd (based on welfare audits and herd averages).

What if the herd lameness prevalence exceeds the herd goal or limit?

There are many causes of dairy cow lameness and usually more than one factor is involved in a herd problem but the causes will vary from farm to farm. So, to “fix” the problem requires:

  1. Investigation to find the most likely contributing factors.
  2. Effort from management and service providers (veterinarian, hoof trimmer, nutritionist) to develop solutions.

What does this WSU/OSU project do?

This project brings together research and practical information to help you:
Find the cows, estimate herd prevalence…And investigate the causes and fix the problem!

What steps can I take to get these tasks done?

  • Training – Click on the Training tab for a video course to learn locomotion
  • Toolbox – Click on the Toolbox tab for information and worksheets on
    sampling the herd and scoring the cows; A worksheet to help you investigate
    the major causes; background information and Rationale for our investigation
    strategy; and a factsheet on footbath solution clinical trials.

To navigate throughout this project’s site, please use the Project Pages section to the right.

These tools have been developed and tested by researchers at WSU and OSU, and veterinarians and dairy producers in Washington and Oregon.  This project was funded by the Washington State Dairy Federation / Washington Dairy Products Commission.