Survey and description of risk factors for erosio ungulae and pododermatitis septica circumscripta in Swiss dairy cows
Helden, R.N.M. van
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Claw disorders are frequently reported in dairy cattle all over the world. The high prevalence of lameness due to claw disorders are stated as not acceptable and they give rise to a growing public concern about animal welfare. The dairy farm claw disorders erosio ungulae (EU) and pododermatitis septica circumscripta (PSC) were investigated on 21 dairy farms around Bern, Switzerland in the period between February and May 2013. The incidence rates were scored and compared to certain risk factors such as ‘trimming frequency’, ‘achiever hoof trimming’, ‘method of trimming’ and some risk factors regarding the housing system. Additional information derived from a questionnaire and was used to find other correlations such as ‘cadastral zone’, ‘pasture in summer’ and even the perception of the farmer. Further, the degree of lameness and the hygienic conditions of the cows were scored. Significant correlations between the claw disorders and certain risk factors could be used to achieve a better management for claw health. The prevalence of PSC on the dairy farms examined was that low that no conclusions could be drawn based on the results obtained for this claw disorder. Correlations between EU and the risk factors ‘pasture’, ‘quality litter’ and ‘achiever hoof trimming’ did not appear to be significant. Risk factors for which significance was found (P ≤ 0.05) with EU, are ‘cadastral zone’, ‘breed’, ‘housing’, ‘bedding’, ‘manure’, ‘trimming frequency’, ‘biotin’, ‘perception’, ‘quantity litter’ and ‘method’. In conclusion, if the farmer’s awareness concerning EU could be improved, proper actions could be taken to improve claw health and animal welfare, as discussed in this study.