Factors contributing to the incidence and prevalence of lameness on Czech dairy farms
I. Dembele, M. Špinka,I. Stěhulová, J. Panamá,P. Firlahttps://doi.org/10.17221/3916-CJASCitation:I. Dembele, M. Špinka,I. Stěhulová, J. Panamá,P. Firla (2006): Factors contributing to the incidence and prevalence of lameness on Czech dairy farms. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 51: 102-109.
Twenty-four Czech dairy farms were visited to record lameness prevalence and to identify factors associated with high lameness prevalence at the farm level and/or increased lameness risk at the level of individual cows. All cows were checked for lameness and forty cows per farm were examined for overgrown claws, body dirtiness and skin lesions. The farm environment was scored between 1 (excellent) to 5 (very poor) in three different aspects: floor slipperiness, cow care quality, and housing quality. Data on hoof trimming schedules were obtained from farm managers. Lameness prevalence on farms was in a wide range from 6% to 42% (median 22%). At the farm level, floor slipperiness and poor animal care were associated with high lameness prevalence (Spearman correlations, P < 0.05), and the proportion of cows with overgrown claws tended to be associated with it (P < 0.10). The reported time schedules of hoof trimming (continuous trimming applied or not; and time elapsed since the whole herd was trimmed) were unrelated to either the prevalence of overgrown claws or the prevalence of lameness. Within farms, cows with overgrown claws and dirty cows were at an increased risk of being lame (multiple logistic regression, P < 0.05) and cows with skin lesions tended to be more lame (P < 0.10). The risk of lameness had an inverted U-shape dependence on age (P < 0.05), with cows at 7–8 years of age being the most endangered by lameness. We conclude that there is a large potential for lameness reduction on some Czech dairy farms through improving the cow care and reducing floor slipperiness, and that within farms, cows with overgrown claws and also dirty cows and cows with skin lesions should be given special attention since they are more likely to get lame.Keywords:
dairy cows; lameness; welfare; housing; hoof care