New guide makes it easier to identify hoof problems in cattle

Have you ever had problems identifying if your cattle have hoof problems?

Thanks to the International Committee for Animal Recording’s (ICAR) Claw Health Atlas, farmers will be able to identify problems much easier.

The atlas gives a description of various hoof problems and it also includes pictures of each problem in order to help identify what the issue is.

Awareness of the importance of a properly functioning locomotor system to bovine health and welfare has increased around the world, ICAR says.

ICAR has focused on a range of very important traits in dairy cattle including: fertility, udder health, and, most recently, feet and legs.

This work is part of ICARs strategy for helping its members to provide better services to farmers and to facilitate the genetic improvement of farmed livestock, particularly dairy cattle, it says.

For the first time there is now an international atlas and coding system for claw traits in dairy cattle, it says.

ICAR says this is a major step forward in ensuring the incidence of claw defects affecting animal health, welfare, and productivity can be reduced in the future.

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) says that this also opens up a window for the farmer to be able to record these events so that ICBF can work towards identifying animals that are genetically less likely to suffer from different claw ailments.

While this is a helpful tool for Ireland, the atlas will be used as an international standard of identifying claw diseases which can be used to widen the genetic pool of animals for our robustness studies, the ICBF says.

The ICBF says that it is hoped that all technicians and hoof parers in Ireland and across Europe will adopt these definitions to allow the best comparison of data across technicians and countries.

The guide is free to download from the ICAR website.

Image: International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR)
Image: International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR)

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