An Observational Study of the Effects of Therapeutic Hoof Blocks on the Locomotion, Behavior, and Production of Healthy Dairy Cattle

Janet H. Cutler, Jan K. Shearer, David F. Kelton, Gerard Cramer, Pat J. Gorden, Suzanne T. Millman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Therapeutic hoof blocks have been recommended for treatment of sole ulcers in dairy cattle; however, they are underutilized in the industry. Twenty Holstein cows were randomly assigned to receive a wooden hoof block applied to the left hind leg (n = 5), to the right hind leg (n = 5), or no hoof blocks (n = 10). Accelerometers were affixed to both hind legs of 10 blocked cows and 5 control cows. Cows were observed for locomotion scores, and milk production was recorded. Mixed models were constructed to determine effects of block application on behavior, milk production, and locomotion. Activity was altered by day, with cows being most active on Day − 1. The mean number of daily lying bouts and lying bout duration did not differ by treatment. Locomotion scores were higher for blocked cows on Days 1, 2, and 3 compared with baseline; however, milk production did not differ between treatments. In conclusion, although block application affected the appearance of locomotion, it did not appear to adversely affect the behavior or milk production of sound dairy cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-374
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015

Keywords

  • accelerometer
  • activity
  • dairy cattle
  • lameness
  • therapeutic hoof block

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