Effect of hoof trimmer intervention in moderately lame cows on lameness progression and milk yield

A. García-Muñoz, N. Singh, C. Leonardi, Noelia Silva Del Rio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of hoof trimmer intervention (HTI) in moderately lame cows on lameness progression and milk yield. Two freestall Holstein herds were enrolled. Cows were milked 2 (herd A: 2,374 cows) or 3 (herd B: 2,800 cows) times a day. Within each dairy, moderately lame cows [locomotion score (LS) = 3 on a 5-point scale] were randomly assigned to control group (CON; herd A = 66, herd B = 84) or treatment group (HTI; evaluated and treated by the hoof trimmer under researchers' supervision; herd A = 73; herd B = 75). Enrollment criteria were <350 d in milk, <180 d pregnant, >10 kg/d of milk yield, not selected for therapeutic trimming 2 mo before enrollment, and >14 observations of daily milk yield during the study period. Biweekly lameness scoring (LS ≤2, LS = 3, LS ≥4) was conducted up to 6 wk post-intervention. Lesion type and severity records were collected at intervention from HTI cows and up to 6 wk post-intervention from all enrolled cows identified as lame by farm employees. Daily milk yield data were collected from −1 to 6 wk relative to intervention using Afifarm (Afimilk Ltd., Kibbutz Afikim, Israel) records. No treatment effect was detected on the predicted probability of locomotion score, but the predicted probability of LS ≥3 decreased over time in herd B, whereas in herd A, it initially decreased but later increased. A tendency for a treatment by time interaction was observed in herd A; at 2 wk post-intervention, the predicted probability for LS ≥3 was higher for HTI (0.69) than for CON (0.43), but similar at 4 wk (0.41 HTI, 0.49 CON) and 6 wk (0.77 HTI, 0.73 CON). At intervention, most study cows had no lesions (41.2%), sole hemorrhages (28.4%), thin soles (8.8%), or vertical fissure (6.8%). During the 6 wk following intervention, a similar proportion of cows were identified as lame in CON (8.7%) and HTI (6.7%) groups. In herd A, milk yield (least squares means ± standard error) was similar for CON (42.0 ± 0.77 kg/d) and HTI (42.3 ± 0.75 kg/d) cows, whereas in herd B, it tended to be lower for HTI (43.7 ± 0.61 kg/d) than for CON (45.2 ± 0.59 kg/d) cows. A significant effect of time was detected on both dairies, with milk yield decreasing over the study period. In our study, implementing HTI on moderately lame cows resulted in no improvement in gait or milk yield. The low presence of severe lesions amenable to therapy may partially explain our findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9205-9214
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • hoof trimmer
  • lameness
  • milk yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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