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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Hoof Trimming

Most large herds aim for cows to be trimmed every 12 months. Hoof trimming is done in order to restore a normal balance to the foot, inspect any causes of lameness and prevent any lameness situations.
The claws should equally be touching the floor in order to give the hoof a balanced walking plane.
During hoof trimming, the wall of the claws are scrubbed first in order to remove any dirt and to look at the overall shape of the hoof. If the claws are ‘twisted’ (overgrown at the end, turning inwards) or just simply too long, they should be clipped off to give a more blunt shape.
After the claws have been clipped, they should be shaped with a disc sander on the bottom plane and on the immediate edges in order to even the bottom edge and create an overall more healthy shape of the hoof and claw.

Ulceration
On the underside of the hoof, if there is a large amount of pressure or an uneven edge, ulcers may form in the inner hoof which can cause immense pain and lameness if they progress into clinical stages. Ulcers form as a result of damage to the bottom of the hoof, usually due to sharp stones becoming inbedded in the hoof.


The best way to stop an early ulcer is to take away the pressure from the ulcer by debriding the hoof matter from a small area around it and making the other claw slightly raised in order to keep the pressure off that part of the ulcer.


In serious cases a block can be put on the opposite claw to raise the affected claw off the ground.

Twisted Claws
Overgrown claws facing in the wrong direction should be corrected as this can often lead to lameness and eventually a painful hoof.

Figure 1 - Front left hoof



Figure 2 - Front right hoof



The above photos are an example of twisted claws. The end of the claws should not be touching and not be facing inwards towards each other.
After trimming, the same hooves look much better…




The best way to trim the hoof is by using a cattle crush that restrains the cow into the air and giving sufficient access to the hooves…







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