Lameness in Cattle

Lameness in Cattle

(Founder, crippled, laminitis, hoof problems)

  Lameness is the general term used to describe an animal that is having difficulty walking due to pain, usually in the foot/hoof. There are many causes of lameness, such as injury, founder, grain overload, abscesses, hoof cracks, laminitis, to name a few. If not treated properly early, the animal can become crippled and unproductive. This is one of the biggest areas of welfare concerns facing our livestock industry today. With appropriate treatment, these animals usually become pain free and a productive member of the herd.

-What is Lameness?

Lameness describes the condition of being lame, which is a deviation of normal gait or locomotion.


-What causes Lameness in cattle?

There can be many causes of lameness in cattle. Lameness can be a result of injury or infection in the hoof, any of the joints or bones of the leg, the soft tissue structures (ligaments, tendons, or muscles), or of the nervous system. Hoof injury or infection is a more common cause of lameness in cattle. Some common sources of hoof pain are hoof abscesses, puncture wounds, founder, Footrot, corns, joint infections, and claw injuries, to name a few.


-Signs of Lameness in cows:

1. Minor gait abnormalities

2. Unable or unwilling to use the affected leg or hoof.

3. Inappetence and weight loss

4. Reluctance to breed


-Is Lameness contagious?

It depends on the cause of the lameness. Contagious footrot is contagious and is caused by a bacterial infection of Fusobacterium necrophorum or Dichelobacter nodusus.



-Risk factors of Lameness:

1. Genetic predisposition for hoof growth defects (corkscrew claw)

2. Excessively wet or dry environment

3. Over feeding

4. Housing in contaminated environments

5. Traveling over rough or rocky terrain


-How serious is Lameness?

Lameness can be very serious if not properly treated early. If multiple animals are affected, it can decrease herd productivity. Also, if the terrain is rough, causing hoof pain or discomfort, reproductive efficiency will be decreased.

Lameness evaluation

▪ Radiographic evaluation

▪ Hoof health:

-Corrective trimming

-Functional trimming


office: (337) 893-8522

Dr. Whittington and Dr. Fuselier are always here when you need. We will get back to you right away.

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