A cross-sectional study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of clinical lameness in high-producing Holstein cows housed in 50 freestall barns in Minnesota during summer. Locomotion and body condition scoring were performed on a total of 5,626 cows in 53 high-production groups. Cow records were collected from the nearest Dairy Herd Improvement Association test date, and herd characteristics were collected at the time of the visit. The mean prevalence of clinical lameness (proportion of cows with locomotion score ≥3 on a 1-to-5 scale, where 1 = normal and 5 = severely lame), and its association with lactation number, month of lactation, body condition score, and type of stall surface were evaluated. The mean prevalence of clinical lameness was 24.6%, which was 3.1 times greater, on average, than the prevalence estimated by the herd managers on each farm. The prevalence of lameness in first-lactation cows was 12.8% and prevalence increased on average at a rate of 8 percentage units per lactation. There was no association between the mean prevalence of clinical lameness and month of lactation (for months 1 to 10). Underconditioned cows had a higher prevalence of clinical lameness than normal or overconditioned cows. The prevalence of lameness was lower in freestall herds with sand stalls (17.1%) than in freestall herds with mattress stall surfaces (27.9%). Data indicate that the best 10th percentile of dairy farms had a mean prevalence of lameness of 5.4% with only 1.47% of cows with locomotion score = 4 and no cows with locomotion score = 5.
- Lameness prevalence
- Locomotion score