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Effective cattle lameness management hinges on education

It’s a costly condition, both for cattle and the cattle producer. Trouble is, there are no magic bullets to solving lameness problems in cattle.

“Since lameness essentially affects everything an animal does in a given day, its impact on animal well-being and productivity – as well as herd profitability – is costly and wide-reaching,” says Mike Socha, regional research and nutritional services manager (RNS)  – North America, Zinpro Corporation. “Effectively managing lameness takes a commitment to understanding the issue and to systematically address key factors causing lameness within the herd.”

In the most recent episode of the award-winning Experts Talk lameness prevention video series, Socha and Connie Larson, ruminant RNS manager, Zinpro Corporation, discuss the industry-wide efforts sponsored by Zinpro Corporation to help assess, diagnose and prevent lameness in dairy and beef cattle. Socha and Larson are widely known within the industry for their expertise in ruminant animals and lameness management.

“When we talk about lameness with producers, they typically think about animals that are extremely lame,” says Larson. “They often miss the animals that are mildly lame. This is where we have the biggest opportunity to improve animal well-being and profitability.”

To the untrained eye, early lameness indicators and common risk factors may go unnoticed. Producers can use educational tools, such as locomotion scoring for dairy cattle and beef cattle to learn how to identify lameness symptoms at an early (mild) stage, when management and treatment protocols are most effective.

Through lameness management programs sponsored by Zinpro Corporation, such as the First Step® Program for dairy cattle and Step-Up Program for beef cattle, producers and others involved in caring for animals can gain access to valuable lameness management tools and resources. Educational posters for beef cattle locomotion scoring and lesion identification are  available upon request. The First Step and Step-Up programs help provide a systematic approach for identifying, managing and preventing cattle lameness, which helps those caring for the animals better recognize and understand the signs, as well as the underlying causes of lameness.

The Experts Talk online video series, sponsored by Zinpro Corporation, features one-on-one discussions with leading authorities on foot health and lameness prevention for multiple species. Each episode features a different expert discussing topics that range from lameness detection, to treating claw lesions that cause lameness, to best-management practices for lameness prevention. To learn more, visit the Experts Talk video library at