A longitudinal field trial of the effect of biotin on lameness in dairy cows

J. Hedges, R. W. Blowey, A. J. Packington, C. J. O'Callaghan, L. E. Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


A longitudinal prospective intervention study investigated the effect of biotin supplementation on the incidence (new cases per day) of visible lameness in milking cows and heifers on five commercial farms in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. The trial lasted from June 1997 to April 1999. Each farm participated in the trial for 18 mo. Within each herd the cows were randomly allocated to either receive a supplement of 20 mg of biotin per day or not. All cows were run as one herd on each farm. When a lame cow was identified, the farmer called one of six veterinarians to examine and treat the affected animal; findings were recorded on a standard form. A veterinarian also carried out a bimonthly locomotion assessment to ensure that all lame cows were diagnosed. There were a total of 900 cows, 1120 cow years, in the trial. The overall incidence rate of lameness (per 100 cows per year) was 68.9, with a range of 31.6 to 111.5 per farm. The incidence rates of the four most frequently reported causes of lameness were sole ulcer, 13.8; white line separation, 12.7; digital dermatitis, 12.0; and interdigital necrobacillosis, 7.1 per 100 cows per year. There was a significant difference in the incidence rate of these four lesions between supplemented and unsupplemented cows on two of the five farms, with a significant decrease in lameness in the cows supplemented with biotin. When all the farms were pooled, the risk of lameness caused by white line separation in cattle supplemented with biotin was approximately halved (Cox proportional hazard survival analysis hazard ratio = 0.57).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1969-1975
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2001


  • Biotin
  • Dairy cow lameness
  • Survival analysis
  • White line separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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