Lameness

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Source: National Farm Animal Care Council, Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle Section 3.3.2

There are multiple causes of lameness in cattle, including injury, nutrition and infection. An increased incidence of footrot is often associated with chronic wet conditions. A common cause of infectious arthritis is the bacterium Mycoplasma bovis which is also associated with bovine respiratory disease. Therefore, preventive measures for bovine respiratory disease may also help to reduce lameness caused by arthritis (3). Lameness due to injury can be reduced through good facility design and low-stress handling techniques, both of which help reduce slips and falls (refer to Section 1 – Animal Environment and Section 4 – Animal Husbandry).

REQUIREMENTS

Provide appropriate care, convalescence or treatment for lame cattle without delay.

Monitor the animals’ response to therapy or care and, if the initial treatment protocol fails, then reassess treatment options or seek veterinary advice.

Promptly cull or euthanize lame cattle that have a poor prognosis for recovery, or that do not respond to therapy or care (See Appendix E).

RECOMMENDED PRACTICES

  1. see Appendices D, E and F to assist in decision-making around culling and euthanasia
  2. manage pen conditions to minimize mud and standing water
  3. work with your veterinarian to identify and resolve sudden increases in the incidence of lameness.

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