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Description of claw horn lesions and associated risk factors in dairy cattle in the lower Fraser Valley, British Columbia Bell, Erin Leigh


One of the principal causes of lameness in cattle is claw horn lesions on the hoof, but the extent of the problem within Canada is unknown. My aim was to describe the prevalence of claw horn lesions in dairy cattle from the Fraser Valley of British Columbia and identify farm management and environment factors that are most associated with claw horn lesions in this area. I recorded the number, severity, and location of lesions in the claws of 624 Holstein cows from 20 herds during hoof trimming. Lesions were found in cows from all herds. The mean (± S.D.) herd prevalence of cows with at least one claw horn lesion was 85.7 ± 13.8%. Within the individual cow, I found differences in the number of lesions observed on different claws, with the hind lateral claws containing the most lesions. Cows were at greater risk for claw horn lesions at the beginning of their lactation and older cows were more likely to develop severe lesions. Overall, cows with higher body condition scores were less likely to have claw horn lesions than those with lower scores. Farms with high steps, computer grain feeders, narrow free stalls, shallow bedding, automatic alley scrapers, and flooring imperfections had a higher herd prevalence of claw horn lesions. In conclusion, claw horn lesions affect the majority of dairy cows in the lower Fraser Valley, and the risk of development is related to individual cow factors and farm characteristics.

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