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Lameness is a cow health issue that requires timely detection and treatment. The DairyNZ lameness scoring system helps you spot early signs and monitor cows' condition over time. With scores ranging from 0 (healthy) to 3 (very lame), the system suggests actions for each score. For better accuracy, choose a flat area where cows can walk freely. You can record your observations with the Healthy Hoof app. This tool makes it easier to track and manage lameness in your herd, allowing for efficient treatment and faster recovery.
Lameness is welfare issue that takes time, energy and skill to treat so early identification of lame cows is critical.
Lameness scoring will allow you to identify lame cows early and monitor lameness throughout the season. The DairyNZ lameness scoring system rates cows on a scale of 0 (no lameness) to 3 (very lame) and gives recommended actions to take. Choose a location that has a flat, even surface where cows can walk at their own pace.
0 - Walks evenly. No action required.
1 - Walks unevenly. Minor action required. Record and keep an eye on her - some cows normally walk unevenly.
2 - Lame. Action required. This cow is lame and needs to be reported, drafted and examined within 48 hours.
3 - Very lame. Urgent action required. This cow is very lame and needs urgent attention. Draft and examine as soon as possible within 24 hours. She may require a vet.
Watch the lameness video for detailed information about lameness scoring.
Effective treatment will mean a faster recovery, see Treating lameness.
You cannot fix a problem until you know what it is. Record every lame cow so you know what you are dealing with – the Healthy Hoof lameness app makes scoring and recording lame cows easy.