By Dale Baker
AgroChem Inc. Hoof Care Technical Expert
Lameness is one of the most devastating disease impacting animal welfare and profitability in U.S. dairy operations. Economic losses commonly associated with lameness include treatment costs, reduced milk production, decreased reproductive performance and premature culling. Some cited costs include:
• $6,000 per 100 cows per year, based on a fatality rate of two percent, an increase in days open of 28 days, treatment costs and additional labor of $23/case.
• In Wisconsin, the cost of lameness has been estimated at $12,400 per 100 cows per year.
• According to a Minnesota study, the average cost of a case of lameness was approximately $180 per cow.
• Other researchers have estimated lameness to cost $350 per case in lost milk, more days open, treatment and labor.
Preventative hoof care can go a long way in reducing new lameness cases. Regular hoof trimming, copper sulfate footbaths with an additive like HoofMax, and prompt application of HealMax spray or foam to digital dermatitis lesions, can help reduce the incidence – and cost – of lameness in your herd.
Shearer, JK and S. Van Amstel. Lameness in Dairy Cattle. Proceedings from 2000 Kentucky Dairy Conference, Lexington, KY, pp. 1-10, 2000.
Geni Wren. Investigating Dairy Lameness. Bovine Veterinarian, November 1, 2004.
Karl Burgi. Dairy Cattle Lameness Causes and Effects. Progressive Dairyman. February 6, 2007.
Peggy Coffeen. How much is lameness costing you? Agri-View, February 7, 2013.