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Computerized Recording of Digital Lesions in Cattle


Paul R. Greenough

, FRCVS, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Last full review/revision Sep 2015 | Content last modified Sep 2015

Recording foot lesions by hoof trimmers is one of the most valuable advances in hoof health care and can be used to demonstrate the seriousness of the problem. In many cases, the data indicate the risk factors to be investigated. Any defect in the animal's environment that leads to some stress or foot abnormality is considered a risk factor. When a risk factor has been identified, control measures can be instituted before the problem becomes difficult to control. Lameness in cattle is a clinical sign of pain with many possible causes that require investigation. Methods to record lesions and rating severity are not yet standardized, but computer programs are available. In many countries, as many as one-third of hoof trimmers can provide this service and accurately identify and describe the severity of foot lesions.

In one survey, 86% of lesions recorded were found in the lateral claw of hindlimbs and 14% in the forelimbs; 73% of forelimb lesions were observed in the medial claw.

The National Database in Denmark also contains information about milk yield, reproductive status, health, etc. The prevalence of lesions must be interpreted carefully, because not every cow with a lesion will show signs of lameness. However, an abnormally high incidence of lesions may forecast lameness to come. The findings would indicate the urgency with which preventive measures should be implemented. The incidence of lesions varies considerably between countries and between regions of the same country. Lesion incidence also changes with different management system practices (eg, tie stall and free stall) as well as with variations during seasons of the year.

The annual herd incidence of lameness can be extremely high; in unique cases as many as 60% of the cows are affected at least once. However, even a 10%–15% incidence represents a significant economic loss.

Lameness in Cattle
Overview of Lameness in Cattle
Physical Examination of a Lame Cow
Locomotion Scoring in Cattle
Computerized Recording of Digital Lesions in Cattle
Distal Digital Anesthesia for Diagnostic and Surgical Procedures in Cattle
Radiography in Cattle
Arthrocentesis and Arthroscopy in Cattle
Risk Factors Involved in Herd Lameness of Cattle
Footbaths of Cattle
Functional Claw Trimming of Cattle
Prevalent Lameness Disorders in Intensively Managed Herds of Cattle
Digital Dermatitis in Cattle
Pododermatitis Circumscripta in Cattle
White Line Disease in Cattle
Toe Necrosis Syndrome in Cattle
Sole Hemorrhage in Cattle
Thin Sole in Cattle
Heel Erosion in Cattle
Other Disorders of the Interdigital Space in Cattle
Interdigital Dermatitis in Cattle
Interdigital Phlegmon in Cattle
Interdigital Hyperplasia in Cattle
Disorders of the Horn Capsule and Corium in Cattle
Laminitis in Cattle
Double Sole in Cattle
Foreign Body in Sole of Cattle
Vertical Fissures in Cattle
Horizontal Fissures in Cattle
Corkscrew Claw in Cattle
Slipper Foot in Cattle
Disorders of the Bones and Joints in Cattle
Ankylosing Spondylosis in Cattle
Degenerative Arthropathy in Cattle
Coxofemoral Luxation in Cattle
Patellar Luxation in Cattle
Fetlock Dislocation in Cattle
Hip Dysplasia in Cattle
Fractures in Cattle
Septic Arthritis of the Distal Interphalangeal Joint in Cattle
Serous Tarsitis in Cattle
Neurologic Disorders Associated with Lameness or Gait Abnormalities in Cattle
Suprascapular Paralysis in Cattle
Radial Paralysis in Cattle
Ischiatic Paralysis in Cattle
Obturator Paralysis in Cattle
Femoral Paralysis in Cattle
Peroneal Paralysis in Cattle
Tibial Paralysis in Cattle
Spastic Syndrome in Cattle
Spastic Paresis in Cattle
Soft-tissue Disorders Causing Lameness in Cattle
Carpal Hygroma in Cattle
Rupture of the Gastrocnemius Muscle in Cattle
Rupture of the Peroneus Tertius Muscle in Cattle
Tarsal Cellulitis in Cattle
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Musculoskeletal Disorders in Large Animals
A seven-year-old Quarter horse gelding presents with a 1-week history of mild lameness. During the examination, the horse raises his head as he places weight on his left forelimb and drops it when placing weight on the right forelimb. Which limb is most likely affected in this horse?
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