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Lameness treatment in cows is crucial for their quick recovery. This page details how to effectively treat various hoof conditions such as white line disease, sole bruising, hoof wall crack, and digital dermatitis. It emphasises that proper treatment involves reshaping hooves, reducing pressure on lesions, removing damaged horn, and managing pain. Moreover, it is vital to record treatments with the Healthy Hoof app for tracking. Reach out to your local Healthy Hoof provider, vet or hoof trimmer for formal training. If a cow's condition doesn't improve within a week post-treatment, consult your vet.
Effective lameness treatment is critical and will ensure a faster recovery for the cow. Those treating cows need training and experience.
Contact your local Healthy Hoof provider, vet or hoof trimmer to enrol in a treatment course. Many farmers will use a hoof trimmer or veterinarian to treat lame cows – this is a great idea if you struggle to find time to treat cows or have cases you are unsure of how to treat.
All lame cows should be kept on pasture, have short walking distances, and be provided good quality feed and easy access to water. Many farmers utilise once-a-day milking for lame cows and depending on the time of the season may dry lame cows off.
If after treatment a cow does not heal or improve within one week, contact your veterinarian. In addition to the treatment principles above, there are guidelines for specific conditions in the 'Healthy Hoof Lameness Field Guide'.
This information covers the principals of treatment, but does not replace the need for formal training. Contact your hoof care professional for training.
White line disease
Open up the white line at the bottom and the top (if there is a break out) to allow drainage.
If there is a break out at the top, you will need to remove the whole side wall; do not leave a bridge.
Ensure there is no pressure on the injured site by paring the sole and/or wall. Take the weight off the affected claw by applying a block or slipper to the healthy claw
Sole bruising (or haemorrhage)
Treat as per step 2 only if the bruising is a point of pain.
Keep the cow close to the shed and consider once-a-day milking. If one claw is involved, consider applying a block/cowslip to the unaffected claw. This will keep the bruised claw off the ground and immediately relieve pain.
Revisit the cow in 5-7 days, simple bruising should heal within a week.
Sole abscess / ulcer
Open up the hole or area in the sole and release any pus.
Abscess/ulcer - Pare away all under-run sole.
Transfer weight on to healthy claw by either paring back the sole of the affected claw (if possible) or applying a block/ slip to the healthy claw.
Hoof wall crack
Remove all under-run horn both sides of the crack.
Pare the sole below the crack to transfer pressure away from the crack.
Clean out the cracked skin between the claws. Check for and remove any small stones.
Spray with antiseptic / iodine.
Treat the cow with injectable antibiotics as prescribed by your vet.
Seek veterinarian advice – it is important to accurately diagnose the disease.
Clean the ulcer or wart with water.
Dry then spray with antibiotic or disinfectant spray from your vet, allow to dry, then spray again. Repeat this treatment for two more days. If you have multiple cases, talk to your vet about a foot bath.