Claw and limb disorders in 12 Norwegian beef-cow herds
Terje Fjeldaas1, Ola Nafstad2, Bente Fredriksen2, Grethe Ringdal2 and Åse M Sogstad1,3
1Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, PO Box 8146 Dep. 0033 Oslo, Norway
2Animalia, Norwegian Meat Research Centre, PO Box 396 Økern, 0513 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Norwegian Cattle Health Services, TINE Norwegian Dairies, PO Box 58, 1431 Ås, Norway
The main aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of claw and limb disorders in Norwegian beef-cow herds.
Twenty-six herds with ≥15 cow-years were selected by computerized systematic assignment from the three most beef cattle-dense regions of Norway. The study population consisted of 12 herds with 28 heifers and 334 cows. The animals were trimmed and examined once by claw trimmers during the late winter and spring of 2003. The seven claw trimmers had been taught diagnosing and recording of claw lesions. Environment, feeding and management routines, age and breed, culling and carcass characteristics were also recorded.
Lameness was recorded in 1.1% of the animals, and only in hind claws. Pericarpal swellings were recorded in one animal and peritarsal lesions in none. In total, claw and limb disorders including lameness were recorded in 29.6% of the animals, 4.1% with front and 28.2% with hind limb disorders, respectively. Most lesions were mild. Laminitis-related claw lesions were recorded in 18.0% of the animals and infectious lesions in 16.6%. The average claw length was 84 mm in front claws and 89 mm in hind claw. Both laminitis-related and infectious claw lesions were more prevalent with increasing age. Carcasses from animals with claw and limb disorders were on average 34 kg heavier than carcasses from animals without such disorders (p = 0.02). Our results also indicate association between some management factors and claw lesions.
The study shows that the prevalence of lameness was low in 12 Norwegian beef-cow herds compared to beef-cattle herds in other countries and also that there were less claw and limb disorders in these herds compared to foreign dairy-cattle herds. The prevalence of lameness and white-line fissures was approximately the same as in Norwegian dairy herds whereas less dermatitis, heel-horn erosions, haemorrhages of the sole and the white line and sole ulcers were recorded.
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2007, 49:24. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.