Lameness is a major cause of reduced welfare in cattle, as well being the third largest loss of income to the dairy herd (after mastitis and sub-optimal fertility). Around a quarter of all dairy cows suffer with lameness each year. The average cost of a case of lameness is between £150 and £200. Therefore a dairy unit with 100 cows and average incidence of lameness will be spending approximately £4000 a year on lameness.
88% of lameness are due to a problem in the foot. 86% of foot lamenesses are found in the hindlimb. 85% of hindlimb lamenesses are found in the lateral claw. The reason for this is that during walking around 80% of the hindlimb weight is borne by the lateral claw. Forelimb lamenesses are evenly distributed between the medial and lateral claws.
Causes of foot lameness: