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Visualizing cattle lameness is key to overcoming the problem

“It’s important that we’re doing the right things for cattle and their well-being,” emphasized Connie Larson, Ph.D., Research and Nutritional Services ruminant manager – North America, Zinpro Corporation. “If we can improve education in order to provide
earlier intervention, then we can work towards alleviating the discomfort and help these animals to recover.”

Lameness ranks among the most visible signs of pain in an animal. Two lead authors of the book, Cattle Lameness: Identification, Prevention and Control of Claw Lesions, recently sat down to discuss how and why the beef and dairy cattle industries must make a concerted effort to take on this issue.

Co-author, Dana Tomlinson, Ph.D., Research Nutritionist, Zinpro Corporation concurs. He adds that the new book is unlike other reference materials available on the subject, because it “gives the producer or the nutritionist an understandable manual they can take to the field and quickly apply the knowledge that they have in identifying the lesions that are most prevalent.”

In the most recent episode of Experts Talk, Drs. Larson and Tomlinson both said that visually recognizing the issue, understanding the repercussions, and taking proactive preventive measures are key to reducing the prevalence of lameness in dairy and beef operations.

Since the book was released, “we’re seeing a complete change in our ability to grow producer knowledge of lameness,” pointed out Dr. Tomlinson. “We very logically step the person through identification of the problem, what can be done about the problem, and how one can further prevent the problem in the future.”

Both authors agreed that, while there are similarities in how lameness affects beef and dairy animals, there are differences as well. “[The book] lays out some of the inherent differences between the two breeds of animals, dairy versus beef,” Dr. Tomlinson continued. “On the surface, it may look like, well, they’re both suffering from foot rot or a sole ulcer; but when we dig deeper, we find that many of the causes of those lesions are different. So the neat thing about this new book is we’ve really helped the person that’s reading the book quickly identify — is this lesion primarily a beef problem or is it a dairy problem? — through identification with different color codings.”

The Cattle Lameness book is available in printed format on Amazon. The e-book is available for sale through the Apple App Store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.

Experts Talk is an award-winning online video series, sponsored by Zinpro Corporation, that 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