Lameness is a leading cause of welfare and culling issues in cattle, with claw lesions accounting for the majority of these issues. Although the treatment of claw lesions in cattle is a daily activity for hoof trimmers, veterinarians, and livestock producers, there is surprisingly little information in the peer-reviewed literature on which to base strong evidence-based conclusions. As a consequence, many treatment modalities used are empirical and, in some cases, may be counterproductive to rapid lesion healing. Furthermore, many of these empirical treatment modalities fail to fully consider the underlying pathogenesis of the disease process and the implications that it has on lesion healing. For example, sole ulcers are largely a consequence of metabolic disorders and mechanical overloading. Therapeutic interventions that fail to address the weight-bearing issues are unlikely to be successful. Likewise, white line disease is believed to be predisposed by rumen acidosis and laminitis, and interventions need to include in them appropriate measures to prevent further cases through nutritional management. The goal of this review paper is to review the pathogenesis of claw lesions in the context of the published literature and allow the reader to arrive at rational treatment interventions based on the best available information. The use of an orthopedic block applied to the healthy claw of a lame foot, judicious use of bandage or wrap, careful selection of parenteral or topical therapy, and a treatment protocol to manage pain and promote recovery are key components of responsible management of lameness disorders in cattle.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/paul-plummer/12/