International Lameness Conference Highlights


International Lameness Conference Highlights
Feb 28-March 3rd |Rotorua, New Zealand
by James R. Metz, DVM
What are the take homes? How can we apply this in the field or on farms?
A group from Wisconsin performed observational and behavioral studies in order to determine the optimal design criteria for a hoof bath. They recommend a single hoof bath of 10-12 feet in length, 19.5-23.5 inches wide with a 11 inch step-in height. This allows the best combination of dimensions while still minimizing hoof bath volume and chemical use.
In a different conversation, I talked to someone who is advocating adding sides on these baths to keep the animals moving through the bath, reduce distractions as well as product savings from less splashing out of the hoof bath.
We are going to try this size bath along with the plywood sides. Call ANIMART for more details.
Still much to be done, our industry still needs more controlled studies on existing and new agents for control of digital dermatitis. Another group from Wisconsin is conducting research on compounds to test their inhibition or killing of treponema-like microorganisms found in digital dermatitis. A manure challenge is also being tested.
A group of Canadian and American researchers found that there were no differences in behavior between a group of healthy (not lame) cows with a hoof block application to a single hind claw and a group of healthy cows that were not blocked. My comments are that this justifies blocking even more because it shows that there are no harmful behavioral changes to normal cows which would make us hesitate to block a lame cow.
US researchers showed that lameness is the big player in lying time of lactating dairy cows. Cows spend more time lying in sand beds than mattress beds. Lame cows also spent less time feeding.  
If you would like the abstract of any of these presentations, please let someone at Animart know and they will get a copy to you. We do have a copy of the program at our office. If you are in the area please stop in and take a look at it.