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Lameness in dairy cattle

Lameness in dairy cattle is a major economic & welfare problem throughout Europe. The aim of the LAMECOW project is to identify risk factors for lameness and to develop management plans to reduce its incidence. This will contribute to improved welfare, productivity & competitiveness in the EU dairy sector.

We have developed a locomotion score based on a paper by Sprecher et al (1997) [1] with a three point scoring system using the position of the back of cows at standing and when walking. In the UK, farmers record hoof lesions seen when a cow is hoof trimmed. In Germany, The Netherlands and Poland these lesions are recorded by professional hoof trimmers.

Cow with flat posture
Cow with flat posture

Cow with arched posture
Cow with arched posture

[1] Sprecher D.J., D.E. Hostetler and J.B. Kaneene. 1997. A lameness scoring system that uses posture and gait to predict dairy cattle reproductive performance. Theriogenology 47:1179-1187. 

Lameness in Germany and The Netherlands

Our locomotion scoring system was used to investigate risk factors for raised mean locomotion scores of 3020 dairy cows situated on forty farms in Germany and The Netherlands. Using linear multivariable models, risk factors for increased abnormality of locomotion were identified that related to diet (including that of heifers), social grouping, steps in the parlour, foot bathing and foot trimming. Aspects of locomotion may be improved by addressing these areas and either by using existing evidence to inform farmers on recommended management, or through testing in intervention studies.

Multimedia Training Package

We have also developed a multimedia, multilingual training package for use in the European dairy sector and education.

Abstracts from Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Nairn, UK (March 2005):

Amory et al. (2005) Risk factors for increased locomotion score on dairy farms in Germany and The Netherlands.
PDF fileView poster as PDF file (277 KB)

Barker et al. (2005) Risk factors for lameness on dairy farms in the UK.
PDF fileView poster as PDF file (271 KB)

View a summary of the content of these posters

Abstracts from Ruminant Lameness Conference, Maribor, Slovenia Feb 2004:

Barker et al. (2004) Identifiying the causes of lameness: On farm data collection methods for a cohort study.
PDF file View as PDF file (46 KB)

Amory et al. (2004) A postal survey of the incidence of lameness and claw lesions in dairy cattle in the UK: A preliminary report.
PDF file View as PDF file (45 KB)

Funded by the Fifth European Community Framework Programme

Fifth EC Framework Programme logo




People involved:
At Warwick University:
Jonathan Amory
Zoe Barker
Joanne Wright
Laura Green
At Wood Veterinary Group, Gloucester:
Roger Blowey
In The Netherlands:
Pieter Kloosterman
In Germany:
René Pijl

We are grateful to:
Participating farmers

View a colour atlas of cattle claw lestions