An iterative approach to the development of a sole ulcer induction model in Holstein cows

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Our objective was to develop a sole ulcer (SU) induction model that can be used to investigate new and more efficacious methods for the treatment and prevention of SU. Three iterations [phase (P)1, P2, and P3] of an SU induction model designed to mimic mechanical and presumed metabolic pathways for SU development were conducted. The results from P1 and P2 identified alterations for the subsequent phase. Each phase used cows with similar calving dates that were randomly assigned (n = 4) to treatments. Control cows (P1CON, P3CON) did not undergo any challenges to induce SU development. Treatment cows were challenged with a hoof block (B) applied to the right hind lateral hoof. Other treatments included restricted lying time (L), restricted feed intake (F), or systemic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration. Treatment comparisons were P1CON versus P1BL, P2B versus P2BL, and P3CON versus P3BLF and P3BLF+LPS for P1, P2, and P3, respectively. Pregnant nulliparous Holstein cows were used in P1 and P3, and the P1 cohort was used in P2 during mid-lactation [125.9 ± 7.20 d in milk (DIM)]. Challenges were applied during a set challenge period (P1: −14 to 14 DIM, P2: 126–168 DIM, P3: −14 to 28 DIM). The P1BL cows had a hoof block applied and lying time restricted for 5 h/d. The P2B and P2BL cows had a hoof block and P2BL cows also had their lying time restricted for 18 h/d for 2 d/wk. The P3BLF and P3BLF+LPS cows had a hoof block, 6 h/d of lying time restricted 2 d/wk, and had their DMI restricted by 30% for 2 d/wk. At weekly intervals during wk 1 to 3 postpartum, P3BLF+LPS cows received jugular administration of 0.031, 0.062, and 0.125 µg of LPS per kg of body weight, respectively. Primary response measurements included hoof lesion and locomotion scoring, lying time, hoof thermography, and weight distribution per hoof. No SU induction occurred but sole hemorrhages, a precursor to SU, occurred during the postchallenge period of all phases. Temperature of the blocked hoof at the end of the challenge period did not change for P3CON cows but increased by 5.5°C and 6.2°C for P3BLF and P3BLF+LPS, respectively. Notable increases in lameness and lack of weight-bearing on the blocked hind hoof occurred for challenge treatment cows during the challenge period of P2 and P3. These changes did not persist after the hoof blocks were removed, indicating that hoof blocks succeeded in altering cow gait mechanics, but not enough to induce long-term lameness or SU. Lying restriction challenged cows in P2 and P3, indicated by a compensatory increase in lying time on the day following lying restriction compared with that on the day before restriction. In P3, lying time had the greatest depression during restriction and compensation following restriction in P3BLF+LPS cows, with LPS challenges potentially increasing the other challenge's effects. Future iterations of the SU induction model should include hoof block use, evaluate longer and more frequent standing and inclusion of forced walking bouts, and include DMI and LPS metabolic challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4932-4948
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (Ashland, OH) for their funding support. We extend our thanks to Zelmar Rodriguez (Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI) for his assistance with data collection during this study, and we acknowledge the assistance of the student research assistants throughout the many phases of this study. We also thank Laura Solano (Lactanet, Calgary, Alberta, Canada) for her input regarding the study development and Maddy Ellis-Cramer for the hoof illustrations. Finally, we extend our gratitude to the dairy managers, J. P. Salvador and Dani Johnson, and staff at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center (St. Paul). The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Dairy Science Association


  • dairy cow
  • induction model
  • lameness
  • sole ulcer

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial, Veterinary
  • Journal Article


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