Assessment of animal and management based potential risk factor relation with claw health and lameness in dairy cows: a cross-sectional study
Lameness is one of the most common problems modern dairy industries and it may originate as infectious or noninfectious. Lameness may also be related to housing and animal-based factors. In this regard, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between potential risk factors with lameness and claw lesions in dairy farms. Eleven dairy farms with 1685 cows were enrolled in this study. Relationships between lameness existence with hind limb conformation, claw conformation, days in milk (DIM), lactation number (LN), bedding type, claw trimming intervals, and relationships between infectious claw diseases (digital dermatitis-DD and heel erosion-HE) with LN, DIM, bedding type, footbath existence, footbath chemical, footbath changing frequency, and footbath solution volume per cow were investigated. A binary regression model was used to reveal relationships. There was no statistically significant difference in the relationship between cow breeds and lameness score, hind limb conformation, claw conformation, and claw diseases. A positive correlation between the existence of lameness with all risk factors was found. Cows with abnormal hind limb and claw conformation numbered 220 and were 2.3 times more prone to lameness (P<0.001), respectively. A positive correlation was found between infectious claw diseases with LN, DIM, bedding type, footbath chemical, and footbath changing frequency. However, a negative correlation was found between infectious claw diseases and footbath solution volume per cow. The relationship between the infectious claw disease existence with DIM and LN was found to
be statistically significant (P<0.001). Also, an increase in LN and DIM were found to increase the risk of infectious claw lesion frequency by 3.3 and 2.2 times, respectively. Findings suggest that abnormal hind limb and claw conformations should be more closely monitored and investigated in terms of lameness. LN and DIM should also be monitored in terms of infectious claw diseases. The result of the study may help farmers to specify their potential animal and management-based risk factors related to lameness and infectious claw lesions in their farms.