Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Body condition score and lameness

Contributor(s): Sophie Mahendran , John Remnant

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Introduction

  • Historically, it was thought that lameness in cattle led to a reduction in BCS due to reduced dry matter intakes, reduced time spent feeding and longer lying times.
  • More recent work has shown that cows with lower BCS (≤ 2 on a scale 0 to 5) are actually more likely to become lame and have repeated lameness events, with a pattern of decreasing risk of lameness was observed with increasing BCS.
  • A low BCS is linked to a reduced thickness of the digital cushion in the foot, as well as a lower milk yield and reduced fertility.
Thin cows become lame, and lame cows become thin!

The Digital Cushion

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Pathophysiology of lameness in relation to BCS

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Fresh cow weight loss

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The effect of Digital Dermatitis on the Digital Cushion

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Conclusion

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Newsome R F, Green M J, Bell N J, Bollard N J, Mason C S, Whay H R & Huxley J N (2017) A prospective cohort study of digital cushion and corium thickness.  Part 2: Does thinning of the digital cushion and corium lead to lameness and claw horn disruption lesions? Journal of Dairy Science 100, 4759–4771 PubMed.
  • Newsome R F, Green M J, Bell N J, Bollard N J, Mason C S, Whay H R & Huxley J N (2017) A prospective cohort study of digital cushion and corium thickness. Part 1: Associations with body condition, lesion incidence, and proximity to calving. Journal of Dairy Science 100, 4745–4758 PubMed.
  • Lim P Y, Huxley J N, Willshire J A, Green M J, Othman A R & Kaler J (2015) Unravelling the temporal association between lameness and body condition score in dairy cattle using a multistate modelling approach. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 118 (4), 370-377 PubMed.
  • Randall L V, Green M J, Chagunda M G G, Mason C, Archer S C, Green L E & Huxley J N (2015) Low body condition predisposes cattle to lameness: An 8-year study of one dairy herd. Journal of Dairy Science 98, 3766–3777 PubMed.
  • Green L E, Huxley J N, Banks C & Green M J (2014) Temporal associations between low body condition, lameness and milk yield in a UK dairy herd. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 113 (1), 63-71 PubMed.
  • Bicalho R C, Machado V S & Caixeta L S (2009) Lameness in dairy cattle: A debilitating disease or a disease of debilitated cattle? A cross-sectional study of lameness prevalence and thickness of the digital cushionJournal of  Dairy Science 92, 3175–3184 PubMed.
  • Räber M, Scheeder M R L, Ossent P, Lischer C J & Geyer H (2006) The content and composition of lipids in the digital cushion of the bovine claw with respect to age and location - A preliminary report. The Veterinary Journal 172 (1), 173-177 PubMed.
  • Räber M , Lischer C J, Geyer H & Ossent P (2004) The bovine digital cushion – a descriptive anatomical study. The Veterinary Journal 167, (3), 258-264 PubMed.


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