Associations between sole ulcer, white line disease and digital dermatitis and the milk yield of 1824 dairy cows on 30 dairy cow farms in England and Wales from February 2003-November 2004

J. R. Amory, Z. E. Barker, J. L. Wright, S. A. Mason, R. W. Blowey, L. E. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The milk yields of 1824 cows were used to investigate the effect of lesion-specific causes of lameness, based on farmer treatment and diagnosis of lame cows, on milk yield. A three-level hierarchical model of repeated test day yields within cows within herds was used to investigate the impact of lesion-specific causes of lameness (sole ulcer, white line disease, digital dermatitis and other causes) on milk yield before and after treatment compared with unaffected cows. Cattle which developed sole ulcer (SU) and white line disease (WLD) were higher yielding cattle before they were diagnosed. Their milk production fell to below that of the mean of unaffected cows before diagnosis and remained low after diagnosis. In cattle which developed digital dermatitis (DD) there was no significant difference in milk yield before treatment and a slightly raised milk yield immediately after treatment. The estimated milk loss attributable to SU and WLD was approximately 570 and 370 kg, respectively. These results highlight that specific types of lameness vary by herds and within herds they are associated with higher yielding cattle. Consequently lesion-specific lameness reduction programmes targeting the cow and farm specific causes of lameness might be more effective than generic recommendations. They also highlight the importance of milk loss when estimating the economic impact of SU and WLD on the farms profitability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-391
Number of pages11
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Volume83
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the farmers who collected the data on lameness, Ben Bartlett at NMR, James Hanks at University of Reading for assistance with data handling and the EU for funding the work (EU-funded Framework 5 project LAMECOW OLRT-2001-00969).

Keywords

  • Claw lesions
  • Dairy cows
  • Lameness
  • Milk yield
  • Multilevel models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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