Causes for cattle lameness are often complex, involving factors such as housing conditions, management practices, nutrition and the environment. But because lameness affects nearly everything a cow does in a given day, it can impact the producers' bottom line.
"Effectively managing lameness takes a commitment to understanding the issue and to systematically address key factors causing lameness within the herd," says Mike Socha, Ph.D., regional Research and Nutritional Services manager – North America, Zinpro Corporation.
In the most recent episode of the Experts Talk lameness prevention video series, Socha and Connie Larson, Ph.D., ruminant RNS manager, Zinpro Corporation, discuss assessment, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of lameness in dairy and beef cattle.
"When we talk about lameness with producers, they typically think about animals that are extremely lame," Larson said. "They often miss the animals that are mildly lame. This is where we have the biggest opportunity to improve animal well-being and profitability."
To the untrained eye, early lameness indicators and common risk factors may go unnoticed. Producers can use educational tools, such as locomotion scoring for dairy cattle and beef cattle to learn how to identify lameness symptoms at an early (mild) stage, when management and treatment protocols are most effective.
Through Zinpro lameness management programs, such as the First Step Program for dairy cattle and Step-Up Program for beef cattle, producers can use valuable lameness management tools and resources.
Educational posters for beef and dairy cattle locomotion scoring and dairy lesion identification are available upon request from Zinpro Corporation.
The First Step and Step-Up programs help provide a systematic approach for identifying, managing and preventing cattle lameness, which helps those caring for the animals better recognize and understand the signs, as well as the underlying causes of lameness.
The Experts Talk online video series, sponsored by Zinpro Corporation, features one-on-one discussions with leading authorities on foot health and lameness prevention for multiple species. Each episode features a different expert discussing topics that range from lameness detection, to treating claw lesions that cause lameness, to best-management practices for lameness prevention.