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Predisposing factors and lesions

141. Lameness is the result of an adverse interaction between the cow and her environment. Predisposing factors may occur long before the cow becomes lame and farmers often do not realise this. There are a number of factors which predispose to lameness in dairy cows, the most important of which are:

142. Early and accurate diagnosis of the specific type(s) of lameness affecting a herd is necessary in order to determine probable causes and to put appropriate control strategies in place.

143. Causes of lameness include:

Recommendations

144. It is essential that action is taken to reduce significantly the prevalence of lameness by paying attention to various factors identified in this report.

145. Housing and management methods which result in a high risk of lameness are considered likely to cause unnecessary pain and unnecessary distress and must be avoided.

146. Farmers and stockmen should be aware of the common types and causes of lameness by keeping up-to-date with new information by, for example, attending relevant meetings and courses.

147. MAFF should pursue advisory campaigns to educate stockmen in lameness prevention. Farmers and stockmen should familiarise themselves with the MAFF booklet, Lameness in dairy cattle'; PB1150. We understand that the booklet is shortly to be updated.

148. Veterinary help must be sought when cows are lame and fail to respond to treatment.

149. Records of all lameness incidents should be kept to aid management in dealing with the problem. The information should be made available by farmers to breeding companies and the Animal Data Centre (ADC) to identify bulls whose daughters have good foot conformation and low lameness incidence.