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The effect of diet and housing on the development of sole haemorrhages, white line haemorrhages and heel erosions in Holstein heifers

  • C. T. Livesey (a1), T. Harrington (a2), A. M. Johnston (a3), S. A. May (a3) and J. A. Metcalf (a2)...

Abstract

Haemorrhagic lesions, heel erosions and changes in foot conformation have been associated with husbandry, underfoot conditions and nutrition of dairy cows.

These characteristics were monitored in 40 heifers in a 2 × 2 factorial design starting in the last trimester of pregnancy and continuing until 12 weeks post partum. Primary treatments were housing in straw yards or cubicles and secondary treatments were alternative complete diets given during lactation which differed in concentrate: forage ratio. A scoring system was developed for each of the foot lesions to allow statistical analysis of results. Locomotion scoring was carried out weekly.

White line haemorrhages, sole haemorrhages and heel erosions were all present before calving. White line haemorrhages were exacerbated by housing in cubicle yards and alleviated by housing in straw yards (P < 0·001) with an interaction between diet and housing around calving (P < 0·05). Sole haemorrhages were exacerbated both by housing in cubicle yards (P < 0·01) and the high concentrate diet (P < 0·01) with an interaction between diet and housing around calving (P < 0·05). Heel erosions were exacerbated (P < 0·05) by housing in straw yards but not affected by diet. Sole haemorrhage and heel erosion scores generally increased during early lactation (P < 0·001) independent of the treatments. There was evidence that these foot lesions were not caused by laminitis. There was a higher incidence of lameness for heifers given the high concentrate diet but no correlation between locomotion score and the type of lesion or lesion score.

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Keywords

The effect of diet and housing on the development of sole haemorrhages, white line haemorrhages and heel erosions in Holstein heifers

  • C. T. Livesey (a1), T. Harrington (a2), A. M. Johnston (a3), S. A. May (a3) and J. A. Metcalf (a2)...

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