Lameness in Livestock

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal System and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019) | Viewed by 45117

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Chester High Road, Neston, Cheshire CH647TE, UK
Interests: cattle health and welfare; dairy cattle genetics and microbiomics
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Guest Editor
Institute of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Chester High Road, Neston, Cheshire CH647TE, UK
Interests: advanced animal husbandry; disease mechanisms

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Guest Editor
Institute of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool. Chester High Road, Neston, Cheshire CH647TE, UK
Interests: small ruminant infectious disease epidemiology and microbiology, especially neonatal diseases and sheep lameness
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Lameness represents an intractable challenge for the livestock production industry; it seriously compromises the efficiency of livestock production systems and poses a threat to food security. More importantly, lameness is a serious animal welfare concern affecting all of the ‘five freedoms’. Apart from the obvious implication with ‘freedom from pain, injury or disease’, lameness can also compromise animals’ freedom from hunger (lameness in dairy cattle has been shown to lead to decreased dry matter intake), freedom from discomfort, freedom to express normal behaviour (it is for example known that lame animals are less likely to express normal oestrus behaviour), and freedom from fear and distress. Unfortunately, several studies suggest that the prevalence of lameness is still high among many different livestock species. With the problem commonly encountered, both producers and their advisors are at risk of becoming habituated to it. In addition, implementing lameness control measures is often difficult in practice, not least because the benefits of taking action may not be fully realised for months or even years. There is, therefore, an urgent need to advance our abilities to facilitate the human behaviour changes needed to tackle this complex disease and studies addressing this need will be particularly welcomed in this Special Issue. Original research that will further our understanding of the aetiopathogenesis, the epidemiology and the genetic background of lameness causing diseases is also welcomed. Systematic reviews of pertinent topics will also be considered for publication.

Prof. George Oikonomou
Dr. Helen Higgins
Dr. Jennifer Duncan
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Behaviour change
  • Livestock
  • Lameness
  • Mobility
  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Social science

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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21 pages, 5850 KiB  
Article
The Development of a Hoof Conformation Assessment for Use in Dairy Goats
by Laura E. Deeming, Ngaio J. Beausoleil, Kevin J. Stafford, James R. Webster, Maryann Staincliffe and Gosia Zobel
Animals 2019, 9(11), 973; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110973 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3372
Abstract
The assessment of hoof conformation is important due to its recognized relationship with the biomechanical functionality of the hoof. Hoof conformation can be assessed using objective measures or subjective scores. However, to date, there are limited data using either method in dairy goats. [...] Read more.
The assessment of hoof conformation is important due to its recognized relationship with the biomechanical functionality of the hoof. Hoof conformation can be assessed using objective measures or subjective scores. However, to date, there are limited data using either method in dairy goats. Therefore, the aims were to (1) develop a reliable method of assessing hoof conformation in dairy goats, and (2) compare two aspects of a subjective assessment against corresponding objective measures as a means of validation. A total of 1035 goats contributed photographs across 16 commercial dairy goat farms. Photographs were taken of the left front and left hind hoof in the lateral and dorsal aspect at five assessments across the goats′ first two lactations. Hoof conformation was assessed using five subjective scores (toe length, heel shape, fetlock shape, claw splay, and claw shape) and two objective measures (toe length ratio and claw splay distance). Following the training of two observers, high levels of inter and intra-reliability were achieved for both the subjective scores (>0.8 weighted kappa) and objective measures (>0.8 Lin′s concordance correlation coefficient). Two aspects of the subjectively assessed ordinal scores were compared with the objective measures with high levels of accuracy (>0.8). This suggests that the subjective scores may be a suitable alternative to more time-consuming objective measures when assessment is completed using photographs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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10 pages, 559 KiB  
Article
Influence of Lameness on the Lying Behaviour of Zero-Grazed Lactating Jersey Dairy Cattle Housed in Straw Yards
by Nicola Blackie and Lawrence Maclaurin
Animals 2019, 9(10), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100829 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3790
Abstract
Thirty-five lactating Jersey cows were recruited to the study. They were grouped according to locomotion score (LS), where low scores indicate normal gait. LS-1 (n = 12), LS-2 (n = 12) and LS-3 (n = 11) were used. Locomotion scores [...] Read more.
Thirty-five lactating Jersey cows were recruited to the study. They were grouped according to locomotion score (LS), where low scores indicate normal gait. LS-1 (n = 12), LS-2 (n = 12) and LS-3 (n = 11) were used. Locomotion scores were balanced for parity and stage of lactation. Lying behaviour was recorded using IceTag™ data loggers attached to the cows for four consecutive days. The study animals remained in the straw based yards with grooved concrete flooring throughout the duration of the study. All data were normally distributed and assessed using a one-way ANOVA with a post hoc Tukey test. There were no statistically significant differences between locomotion score and the time spent lying, active and standing of zero-grazed lactating Jersey dairy cattle housed on straw yards. Lame cows (LS-3) had significantly shorter lying bouts than sound cows (LS-1) (34 min vs. 42 min, respectively). There has been limited research to date measuring the lying behaviour of cattle on straw and into the Jersey breed. The cows had longer than expected standing times and an increased frequency of lying bouts. This may have been attributed to the stocking density in which the cows were kept. We also reported a prevalence of lameness within the herd of 38%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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15 pages, 816 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Group Composition and Mineral Supplementation during Rearing on Measures of Cartilage Condition and Bone Mineral Density in Replacement Gilts
by Phoebe Hartnett, Laura Boyle, Bridget Younge and Keelin O’Driscoll
Animals 2019, 9(9), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090637 - 30 Aug 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3847
Abstract
Lameness is a major cause of poor longevity and poor welfare in replacement gilts. The problem is exacerbated by inappropriate housing and diet during the rearing period. Replacement gilts are often reared with male finisher pigs destined for slaughter. If they are not [...] Read more.
Lameness is a major cause of poor longevity and poor welfare in replacement gilts. The problem is exacerbated by inappropriate housing and diet during the rearing period. Replacement gilts are often reared with male finisher pigs destined for slaughter. If they are not castrated, they perform high levels of potentially injurious sexual and aggressive behaviour. Furthermore, finisher pig diets are not designed to meet the needs of developing gilts and may not supply the necessary minerals to support good limb health. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of supplementing the diet of replacement gilts with copper, zinc and manganese and separating them from males during the rearing period on locomotory ability, bone mineral density and cartilage lesion scores. A 2 × 2 factorial design experiment investigated the effect of female-only or mixed-sex rearing, with or without supplementary minerals (Copper, Zinc and Manganese). In total, 384 maternal line gilts were assigned to 32 pens of 12 and were locomotion scored during the rearing period. A sub-sample (n = 102) of gilts were culled at breeding age and the front right limb was removed at slaughter. Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, after which the limb was dissected to score the condition of the cartilage. The addition of trace minerals to the diet resulted in increased aBMD in the humerus (P < 0.05) compared to the control diet. Rearing gilts in female-only groups reduced the number of cartilage lesions overall (P < 0.05), and on the humeral condyle (P < 0.05). Rearing replacement gilts in female-only groups and with mineral supplementation had benefits for limb health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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19 pages, 923 KiB  
Article
A Monosodium Iodoacetate Osteoarthritis Lameness Model in Growing Pigs
by Joost Uilenreef, Franz Josef van der Staay and Ellen Meijer
Animals 2019, 9(7), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070405 - 1 Jul 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3506
Abstract
Lameness is a common problem in pigs, causing welfare issues in affected pigs and economic losses for farmers. It is often caused by osteoarthrosis (OA) in its acute or chronic form. We assessed face and construct validity of a potential model for naturally-occurring [...] Read more.
Lameness is a common problem in pigs, causing welfare issues in affected pigs and economic losses for farmers. It is often caused by osteoarthrosis (OA) in its acute or chronic form. We assessed face and construct validity of a potential model for naturally-occurring OA and its progression to chronic OA. Such a model would allow the assessment of possible interventions. Monosodium-iodoacetate (MIA) or isotonic saline was deposited in the intercarpal joint of 20 growing pigs. Functional effects were assessed using subjective (visual lameness scoring) and objective (kinetic gait analysis) techniques at several timepoints. Structural effects were assessed by histopathology at 68 days. Eight out of 10 MIA treated animals had histopathological OA lesions confirmed in the target joint, while for all saline treated animals the target joint was judged to be normal. Pressure mat analysis revealed increased asymmetric weight bearing in these animals compared to the control group on day 3, 14, 28 and 56. Visual scoring only showed a difference between groups on day 1. MIA did not cause prolonged visible lameness, thus face validity for OA under field conditions was not entirely met. Since objective gait parameters showed decreased weightbearing as a behavioral expression of pain, it may be used as a general model for movement-induced pain in pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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14 pages, 240 KiB  
Article
Lameness in Sheltered Cows and Its Association with Cow and Shelter Attributes
by Arvind Sharma and Clive J. C. Phillips
Animals 2019, 9(6), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060360 - 16 Jun 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3792
Abstract
The sheltering of old, unproductive and abandoned cows in traditional cow shelters, known as gaushalas, has been practiced in India since ancient times. Cows are kept in these shelters until they die of natural causes. The welfare of the cows in these shelters [...] Read more.
The sheltering of old, unproductive and abandoned cows in traditional cow shelters, known as gaushalas, has been practiced in India since ancient times. Cows are kept in these shelters until they die of natural causes. The welfare of the cows in these shelters was assessed through a cross-sectional study of 54 cow shelters in six states of India. A total of 1620 cows were examined to assess the prevalence of lameness in these cows, and the associated risk factors for lameness were identified through the measurement of animal-based and resource-based welfare indicators. The overall lameness prevalence was 4.2%. The majority (86%) had mild to moderate hock joint swellings but no or only mild carpal joint injuries. Approximately one-half had mild to moderate hock joint hair loss and most were free of hock joint ulcerations. Claw overgrowth was present in almost one half of the cows. Lameness prevalence was positively correlated with coat dirtiness, hock and carpal joint lesions, diarrhea and claw overgrowth scores. In a multivariate analysis, lameness prevalence increased as the Body Condition Score (BCS) decreased and was associated with increased udder dirtiness, the ulceration of the hock joint, carpal joint injuries and claw overgrowth. Resource-based indicators measured at the shelter level suggested that an absence of bedding in the sheds and an increase in the gradient of the shed flooring increased lameness. Addressing the principle risk factors identified for lameness in the sheltered cows (low body condition, dirty udders, lesions on the hock and carpal joints, overgrown claws, and a steep floor gradient) may help to reduce this serious animal welfare problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
8 pages, 421 KiB  
Article
Risk of Lameness in Dairy Cows with Paratuberculosis Infection
by Joshua Smith and Steven van Winden
Animals 2019, 9(6), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060339 - 10 Jun 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2694
Abstract
Johne’s disease (JD) is an important disease affecting the UK dairy industry, as is cattle lameness. An association between JD and lameness has been suggested; however, little evidence exists to support this. The purpose of this study was to determine if cows affected [...] Read more.
Johne’s disease (JD) is an important disease affecting the UK dairy industry, as is cattle lameness. An association between JD and lameness has been suggested; however, little evidence exists to support this. The purpose of this study was to determine if cows affected by JD were more likely to be lame and if so, what the temporal association is. Retrospective dairy cow mobility and JD status (based on milk ELISA) data were obtained from two farms of 98 JD cows (49 high and 49 medium positive) and their matched controls. We evaluated the timing and the proportion of (chronic) lameness in JD-positive cows versus controls and proportion of lameness before and after the first ELISA positive test. Compared to their controls, JD cows are lame more often (Odds Ratio = 2.7 (95% Confidence Interval = 1.2–6.0) p = 0.017) and became lame on average three months earlier (p = 0.010). High positive cows were more likely to develop lameness after seroconversion (OR = 2.8 (95% CI = 1.1–7.5), p = 0.038) versus medium positive cows. Results of this study suggest that there is a link between JD and lameness and that JD precedes lameness. The underlying mechanisms for this association remain unknown and were not the scope of this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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9 pages, 226 KiB  
Article
Routine Herd Health Data as Cow-Based Risk Factors Associated with Lameness in Pasture-Based, Spring Calving Irish Dairy Cows
by Joris R. Somers, Jon N. Huxley, Michael L. Doherty and Luke E. O’Grady
Animals 2019, 9(5), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050204 - 29 Apr 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2963
Abstract
Herd-level risk factors related to the cow’s environment have been associated with lameness. Uncomfortable stall surface and inadequate depth of bedding as well as abrasive alley way surface are contributing factors to increased levels of lameness. Access to pasture has been found as [...] Read more.
Herd-level risk factors related to the cow’s environment have been associated with lameness. Uncomfortable stall surface and inadequate depth of bedding as well as abrasive alley way surface are contributing factors to increased levels of lameness. Access to pasture has been found as having a beneficial effect on cows’ locomotion. However, dairy cattle managed under grazing conditions are exposed to a different set of risk factors for lameness, mainly associated with cow tracks. Cow-based risk factors for lameness are not as clearly defined as the herd level risk factors. The objective of the present study was to use routine herd health monitoring data to identify cow-based risk factors for lameness and utilise this information to indicate cows at risk of developing lameness in the first 150 days of lactation. Lameness data were gathered from 10 pasture-based dairy herds. A total of 1715 cows were monitored, of which 1675 cows were available for analysis. Associations between lameness status and potential cow-level risk factors were determined using multivariable logistic regression. Parity 3 and 4 + cows showed odd ratios (OR’s) for lameness of 3.92 and 8.60 respectively (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.46–6.24; 5.68–13.0). Maximum loss of Body condition score (BCS) after calving exhibits OR’s for lameness of 1.49 (95% CI 1.08–2.04) if cows lost 0.5 in BCS after calving and 2.26 (95% CI 1.30–3.95) for cows losing more than 0.5 BCS. Animals calving in BCS 3.25 and ≥ 3.5 had correlating OR’s of 0.54 (95% CI 0.34–0.87) and 0.33 (95% CI 0.16–0.65) for being lame compared to cows calving with BCS ≤ 2.75. Data gathered as part of herd health monitoring can be used in conjunction with lameness records to identify shortcomings in lameness management. Findings and recommendations on lameness management can be formulated from readily available information on cow-based risk factors for lameness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
11 pages, 1547 KiB  
Article
Using the Footfall Sound of Dairy Cows for Detecting Claw Lesions
by Nina Volkmann, Boris Kulig and Nicole Kemper
Animals 2019, 9(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030078 - 1 Mar 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4268
Abstract
An important factor for animal welfare in cattle farming is the detection of lameness. The presented study is part of a project aiming to develop a system that is capable of an automated diagnosis of claw lesions by analyzing the footfall sound. Data [...] Read more.
An important factor for animal welfare in cattle farming is the detection of lameness. The presented study is part of a project aiming to develop a system that is capable of an automated diagnosis of claw lesions by analyzing the footfall sound. Data were generated from cows walking along a measurement zone where piezoelectric sensors recorded their footfall sounds. Locomotion of the animals was scored and they were graded according to a three-scale scoring system (LS1 = non-lame; LS2 = uneven gait; LS3 = lame). Subsequently, the cows were examined by a hoof trimmer. The walking speed across the test track was significantly higher in cows with LS1 compared to those with LS2 and LS3 and thus, they were showing a smoother gait pattern. The standard deviation of volume (SDV) in the recorded footfall sound signal was considered as a factor for the force of a cow’s footsteps. Cows with non-infectious claw lesions showed lower SDV than healthy cows and those with infectious claw diseases. This outcome confirmed the hypothesis that the evaluated cows affected by non-infectious claw lesions have a greater sensitivity to pain and demonstrate a less forceful gait pattern. These first results clearly show the potential of using footfall sound analysis for detecting claw lesions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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Review

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17 pages, 325 KiB  
Review
Aetiology, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Control of Foot-Related Lameness in Dairy Sheep
by Athanasios I. Gelasakis, Aphrodite I. Kalogianni and Ioannis Bossis
Animals 2019, 9(8), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080509 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 6502
Abstract
During the last twenty years, considerable research efforts have recognized the consequences of foot-related lameness primarily in cattle, and meat and wool sheep. Despite the lack of extensive epidemiological studies, field observations and isolated research reports in dairy sheep have suggested that the [...] Read more.
During the last twenty years, considerable research efforts have recognized the consequences of foot-related lameness primarily in cattle, and meat and wool sheep. Despite the lack of extensive epidemiological studies, field observations and isolated research reports in dairy sheep have suggested that the problem might be more severe in semi-intensive and intensive farming systems. Footrot, contagious ovine digital dermatitis, ovine interdigital dermatitis, white line disease, and pedal joint abscess are the most common causes of foot-related lameness. Dichelobacter nodosus, Fusobacterium necrophorum, Treponema spp., and Actinomyces pyogenes are the most significant foot-related lameness-associated pathogens. Despite a documented hereditary predisposition, environmental factors are the most important in determining the occurrence of foot-related lameness. Moist and warm environment, increased parity and milk yield, inappropriate housing conditions and infrastructures, inadequate hygiene status, imbalanced nutrition, and insufficient foot care are the most critical risk factors. Furthermore, a foot-lameness control plan should include targeted implementation of claw trimming and footbathing, evidence-based planning of hygiene measures in preventive veterinary practices (i.e., antibiotic administration, vaccinations against footrot), selective breeding to footrot resistance, and, most importantly, the continuous training of farming personnel. Controlling foot-lameness in dairy sheep is critical in determining the well-being of animals, and strongly affects the farm’s profitability and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
15 pages, 442 KiB  
Review
Dairy Farmers’ Perceptions of and Actions in Relation to Lameness Management
by Mohammed Babatunde Sadiq, Siti Zubaidah Ramanoon, Wan Mastura Shaik Mossadeq, Rozaihan Mansor and Sharifah Salmah Syed Hussain
Animals 2019, 9(5), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050270 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 5019
Abstract
Lameness continues to be a welfare and economic issue for dairy cows. However, the consequences of lameness seem to be better understood by veterinarians and related personnel in comparison to dairy farmers. Prompt detection and treatment of lame cows is essential in reducing [...] Read more.
Lameness continues to be a welfare and economic issue for dairy cows. However, the consequences of lameness seem to be better understood by veterinarians and related personnel in comparison to dairy farmers. Prompt detection and treatment of lame cows is essential in reducing its negative impact on milk processing systems. To that end, understanding farmers’ perceptions regarding the significance of lameness to dairy cows is vital. One fundamental aspect is the underestimation of lameness prevalence by dairy farmers, which is as a result of different understanding of the problem. The same applies to their decision to treat lame cows and to adopt various detection and management practices. All of these shortcomings contribute to poor cattle welfare and economic losses in dairy production. This review summarizes the results of studies that have investigated dairy farmers’ perceptions of lameness and the associated implications on the wellbeing and productivity of dairy cows. Factors associated with farmers’ attitudes toward claw health and lameness management are also presented. Additionally, economic observations relating to lameness prevention, treatment and the adoption of lameness detection systems are also highlighted. To strengthen these points, interventional programmes requiring farmers’ participation are discussed as a promising approach in answering some of these challenges. A review of the literature indicates both the opportunities and barriers inherent in the tackling the lameness issue from the farmers’ perspectives. Such knowledge is crucial in identifying measures on how to motivate dairy farmers towards proper lameness management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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Other

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5 pages, 195 KiB  
Comment
Addressing Lameness in Farmed Animals: An Urgent Need to Achieve Compliance with EU Animal Welfare Law
by Elena Nalon and Peter Stevenson
Animals 2019, 9(8), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080576 - 19 Aug 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3901
Abstract
Lameness is the clinical manifestation of a range of painful locomotory conditions affecting many species of farmed animals. Although these conditions have serious consequences for animal welfare, productivity, and longevity, the prevention and treatment of lameness continue to receive insufficient attention in most [...] Read more.
Lameness is the clinical manifestation of a range of painful locomotory conditions affecting many species of farmed animals. Although these conditions have serious consequences for animal welfare, productivity, and longevity, the prevention and treatment of lameness continue to receive insufficient attention in most farming sectors across the European Union (EU). In this paper, we outline the legislative framework that regulates the handling of lameness and other painful conditions in farmed animals in the EU. We briefly outline the current situation in different livestock farming sectors. Finally, we make the case for the introduction of regular on-farm monitoring of lameness and for the setting of alarm thresholds that should trigger corrective actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lameness in Livestock)
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