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Farm Animal Practice
Locomotion scoring and lameness detection in dairy cattle
  1. Helen Whay

    Helen Whay works as a researcher in applied animal welfare at the University of Bristol veterinary school. Having obtained a degree in agricultural science from Leeds University in 1994, she gained a PhD in 1998 from Bristol for studies on the management of pain associated with lameness in dairy cattle.


THE problem of high levels of lameness in UK dairy cattle has persisted into the 21st century and still presents a specific welfare concern. The mean prevalence of lameness seems to have changed little over the past decade and, although the relative proportions of lameness-causing lesions may have altered over time, the resulting number of lameness cases appears to have remained constant. The upsurge in farm assurance schemes has brought about the opportunity for structured veterinary involvement in the active monitoring and prevention of lameness at a herd level through the use of herd health plans which require careful record-keeping of lameness levels on farm and biannual locomotion scoring of the herd. This article discusses the role of locomotion and lameness scoring and describes how such systems might be implemented.

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