Lameness and hock lesion prevalence in dairy cattle in Alberta
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The aim of this study was to investigate if the prevalence of lameness and hock lesions on dairy farms in Alberta has changed between 2011 and 2015. Ten dairy farms were visited between April and May 2015 to collect the 2015 data. The selected farms had a milking herd of at least 100 milking Holstein Friesian cows. On each farm 40 cows were selected with a DIM between 1 and 120 and 20 cows with a DIM over 120. For the 2011 data 10 farms from a previous study were randomly selected. The lameness and hock lesion data of the 2011 farms was collected from the database. The cows were scored for lameness using a simplified Flower and Weary scale. Hock lesions were scored using a scale from 0-3. Lameness prevalence was 19% (SD 0.39) for the 2011 group and 27% (SD 0.45) for the 2015 group. The difference in lameness prevalence was significant (2=8.371, p=0.004). The prevalence of hock lesions in 2011 (43%) was different from 2015 (47%)(p<0.001). There was no correlation between lameness and hock lesions on both legs in 2011 and 2015. The current study cannot explain the difference in lameness prevalence or hock lesion prevalence. Several factors that could account the difference are proposed. More research is needed to investigate whether these factors can explain the higher lameness and hock lesion prevalence in 2015.