Hoof trimming benefits

Hoof trimming benefits
Hoof trimming benefits
By Hanneke Officer, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets

Feet carry a lot of responsibility: they carry us everywhere we go and have to accept whether we give them some padding (shoes – from jandals to professional walking shoes) along the way or not. Cow claws provide their own padding in the form of the sole and the wall. However, because these are live tissues, they are vulnerable to damage as well as wear and tear. The daily routine on a milking farm presents multiple challenges to cow claws:
  • Daily long distance walking
  • Standing on concrete surfaces
  • Twisting on a hard surface or sharp corners
  • Uneven ground
These challenges lead to changes in the claw. These will be subtle at first, but end up in altered weight bearing when the sole becomes uneven which then leads to an uneven growing pattern and overgrown feet.

Cow claws need maintenance, just like you might resole your shoe or buy a new pair. If you walked 10 km a day, your shoes would need some care!

This is where hoof trimming comes in. It identifies existing problem areas, trims overgrowth and restores the right weight bearing surfaces. If a claw is a bit worn out and in need of a rest, a block fitted by the hoof trimmer will help give it a break. If a cow is lame or close to becoming lame, this will also be addressed and with much better equipment than present on any farm I’ve seen.

In many countries, hoof trimming is scheduled once or twice a year with the aim to maintain claw health and lower lameness prevalence.

In New Zealand, awareness is growing that hoof trimming should be integrated into dairy farming. On top of the reasons already mentioned, records taken during the trimming can also bring to light the most common lesions found which may then help towards identifiying risk factors. Addressing these risk factors will help prevent future lameness.

Use the CLAW card to find overgrown claws in your herd and phone Rhonda (07 824 2103) to book.

Date Added: Friday, 4th December 2020