How to design a lameness prevention program for your herd:
Why should I trim?
Hoof trimming plays an important role in prevention and therapeutic treatment of lameness in dairy cattle. Lameness prevention through hoof trimming has both positive economic, as well as welfare benefits to dairy cattle. A strong hoof health program has been shown to lead to increased milk production and reproduction, among other benefits.
When should I trim?
Most farms set up hoof trimming programs with a twice a year approach with the addition of therapeutic trimming to cows displaying signs of overt lameness. Discussing with your veterinarian based on the needs of your cattle to determine the most appropriate timing for your herd. The benefits of timed trimming are maintenance, as well as early detection of lesions. Early lameness detection increases herd wellness and efficacy of treatment, which can subsequently mitigate downstream costs and repercussions of lameness.
What supplies do I need to trim?
- Leather gloves
- Safety glasses or shield
- Hoof nippers
- Hoof tester
- Hoof knives
- Hoof blocks
- Glue for hoof blocks
- Heat gun
- Chute system for adequate restraint
What methodology should be used to trim?
How should lameness be tracked on farm?
Utilize your veterinarian to set up a lameness prevention program for your farm. This program should be multifaceted and monitored across time. It should include locomotion herd scoring, facilities assessment, records assessment of treatment efficacy, trimmer training, foot bath use and correlation to both the welfare and economic improvement of the herd. The Dairy Authority can help you develop standard operating procedures and training to implement this.