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In recent years, dairy researchers have argued the social and economic benefits of a longer, healthier life for cows. Dairy producers, as well as consumers, are increasingly interested in understanding exactly how improvements to cow environments, health and decision-making tools can positively influence the lifetime productivity of cows.

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Cold stress is recognized as a major challenge in managing dairy calves, and rightly so. However, a mature dairy cow can also respond negatively to prolonged cold weather, albeit more subtly.

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Walking cows through a footbath containing an antibacterial agent, such as copper sulphate or formalin, has become an industry standard practice to aid in the control of infectious hoof disease.

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The best action plans for hoof health and digital dermatitis prevention call for consistent footbaths, and dairy farmers have the choice between manually filling and draining the bath or using an automated system to deliver protection.

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Lameness is simply defined as “a symptom of pain.” Lameness is the third-most common reason for culling cows, after infertility and mastitis, and it is reported that 10% of dairy cattle are culled due to this affliction.

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When severe cases of digital dermatitis (DD) are identified in the field, it is common to find “square” feet, characterized by overgrown heels and shortened claws. These animals typically exhibit visible signs of lameness due to active, painful DD lesions (M2 stage), as well as a marked transformation of the original claw shape.

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