Medycyna Wet. 66 (8), 507-511, 2010
Olechnowicz J., Jaœśkowski J. M.
Risk factors influencing lameness and key areas in reduction of lameness in dairy cows
Lameness in dairy cows is a clinical sign with multifactorial aetiology and has been classified as one of the three most common health problems, after infertility and mastitis, which present an increased risk of culling in dairy cows. Clinical lameness of cows (³ 3 lameness score) results in a decrease of milk yield and fertility. Factors influencing lameness in dairy cows can be considered in two groups: intrinsic factors, or unavoidable risks, and extrinsic risk factors. The most important intrinsic unavoidable risk factors are the following: season of calving, gestation and stage of lactation, breed and milk yield level, previous disease, parity and season of claw trimming. These factors increase the risk with age and milk yield level of cows. The risk of lameness is also genetically determined for the development of claw lesions. Extrinsic risk factors influencing lameness of cows are claw disorders and the housing system (with exercise vs. without exercise), including different floor surfaces. Claw disorders cause approximately 90% cases of lameness in dairy cows. Claw lesions are more frequent and their prevalence reaches 80%. The housing system (tie-stall barns with exercise and without exercise versus loose housing with exercise and without exercise) cannot be considered as a single factor. Maintenance of cows is associated with numerous co-active environmental and management factors, including different floor surfaces. There are six key areas that we can consider when attempting to reduce lameness in dairy cows. These risk areas include cow comfort, cow hygiene, social and physical integration for heifers and dry cows, cow flow on the farm, diet and correct routine professional functional preventive hoof trimming.
Keywords: cow, lameness, claw diseases, intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors, prevention, cow comfort