Read the Progressive Dairy Canada digital edition


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


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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Metritis is a common and costly disease that affects dairy cows during the early postpartum period. Researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Dairy Center have completed a number of studies investigating the relationships between health and behavior (behaviour) of cows during the transition period and have found that both feeding behavior (behaviour) and dry matter intake (DMI) can be used in the early detection of disease.

One of these studies characterized prepartum behavior (behaviour) and DMI of cows that developed metritis after calving. Relative to the healthy cows, those that developed metritis after calving spent less time at the feedbunk and had lower dry DMI as far back as two weeks prior to calving (approximately three weeks before clinical signs of disease were evident).

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As many veterinarians, nutritionists, farmers and students would agree, management during the transition period is one of the most crucial roles to produce a successful lactation. Making your transition cow program a success relies heavily upon proper body condition score at calving, minimizing pre-calving energy intake and maximizing feed intake throughout the freshening period.

Although special attention is commonly given to transition cows, heifers calving for the first time are often not seen as high-risk animals. This may be due to the fact that heifers often suffer from lower rates of milk fever, or displaced abomasum during the fresh period, when compared to animals in their second or third lactation.

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