Tipperary farmers warned to stay on their toes to monitor lameness

Tipperary Star reporter

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Tipperary Star reporter

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Tipperary farmers warned to stay on their toes to monitor lameness

Changes that occur at calving time can increase the risk of lameness for an animal and now is the time to observe your herd for signs of lameness and treat promptly and effectively.

Lameness management will save you time, money and hassle in the long run. Correct weight distribution and correct claw length in conjunction with a correct diet and foot bathing routine during the summer months will help alleviate lameness problems.

A good hoof care regime is important for the health of your herd. Your animal’s hooves should be checked regularly in order to keep them in good condition, preventing lameness and disease. FRS provides expert paring of hooves for preventive and curative hoof care, but the service extends to more than just a ‘pedicure’ for your herd, we offer knowledgeable advice on how to aid the prevention of lameness through a complete hoof care regime. FRS hoof care technicians are fully trained and up to date on the diseases and hazards that affect lameness and offer advice on how farmers can proactively address these.

The are a number of management tips that can treduce lameness:

n gradual introduction of concentrates, especially to heifers

n avoid walking long distances, especially after calving. Keep freshly calved cows near for up to 48 hours to allow pedal bone to settle back

n gentle handling and movement around yard

n good access to food and water

n have roadways in the best condition possible

n regular scraping of passageways

n remove build-up of slurry at the end of passageways

n eliminate pooling of water or slurry

n reduce stress on animals as much as possible, especially heifers bulling and new environment.

You should also observe cows walking in the yard or on roadways and during milking, and wash cow's feet.

You should also check the heel of claws for any digital dermatitis legions – if present treatment is required. If there are overgrown claws, trimming is required and if there is a significant difference between inner and outer claw, hooves need to be trimmed to distribute weight evenly.

If a problem occurs on your farm, immediate action is needed. If you do not continue to control the problem, it will re-occur.

The Herdwatch app gives farmers a very easy and useful tool to record hoof observations and treatments through their smart phone on the spot.

It can record instances of lameness such as:

n record lameness observations

n record instances of Hoof care

n record instances of Lameness treatments

n view all previous instances of Lameness for an Animal

n identify which leg of an animal was/is affected

For more information, visit www.herdwatch.ie Remember that lameness Is costing you money in direct costs such as milk withdrawal, milk loss, weight loss, vet and time. There are also indirect costs such as culling, reduced heat and the cost of extra service.

The average cost of a lame animal is approximately €290. Different types of lameness have different associated costs. For example, solar ulcer is much harder to heal than mortillaro and would have higher treatment costs.

FRS provides an expert hoof care service to farmers. We recommend routine preventative hoof trimming yearly and also provide curative hoof trimming and care advice.

Our hoof care technicians will be able to advise you on what is causing lameness problems and most importantly, what steps you can take to prevent the problem.

Contact FRS in Roscrea on 0505-21166, or FRS in Cahir on 052-7441598 or visit www.frsfarmrelief.ie