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HERD HEALTH

Find information about mastitis, transition cows, vaccination protocols, working with your veterinarian, hoof care and hoof trimming.

LATEST

Mastitis is one of the most common diseases affecting dairy operations as a detriment to cow comfort and, ultimately, profitability.

Traditionally, dairymen have relied on a five-point plan to control the disease that focuses primarily on sanitation and proper treatment of the herd.

But Dr. Stephen C. Nickerson, head of the Animal and Dairy Science Department at the University of Georgia, thinks there is one area that deserves greater consideration.

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Lameness is a common on-farm reason for culling cows. About 20 to 30 percent of cows in a herd are expected to become lame in any given lactation.

A cow that is lame may not immediately show symptoms but eventually lies down longer, eats less and consequently produces less milk.

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As a full-time trimmer since September 1973, I believed the popular theory in the school of trimming in which we did not block nor wrap – but rather we trimmed so we did not have to block or wrap.

I did not get serious about either blocking or wrapping until the second Hoof Trimmers’ Conference in Batavia, New York, in 1997. By then I’d been trimming for 24 years. It was also my introduction to hoof anatomy and hoof mechanics.

I bought a kit from Hoof-it and went back to trimming without blocking or wrapping. My greatest problem, besides knowing how to wrap or block, was knowing when to wrap or block.

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0512pd_daniel_1After more than 28 years working as a hoof trimmer in the dairy industry and, like many others, seeing the many changes within the dairy industry, I think a simple question has to be asked: “Why is lameness increasing as an issue?”

The answer is the modern dairy industry still has not recognized the requirements for the hoof to function “normally.”

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0412pd_sacker_1Lameness is one of the leading reasons for milk loss on any dairy.

It is also a hot animal welfare topic, according to Dr. Gerard Cramer, who is a bovine hoof care consultant, educator and researcher from Ontario, Canada. Cramer recently discussed his hoof health program via webcast.

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0512pd_sickenger_1Left abomasal displacement (LDA) is a common and economically important disease in high-yielding dairy cows. Since the first description of LDA in 1950, many techniques for surgical correction of this disorder have been developed.

At Giessen University in Germany, the standard procedure to correct LDAs is the minimally invasive repositioning of the displaced abomasum according to the Janowitz method, first described in 1998.

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