For this study in 139 heifers of 7 different free stall barn dairy farms in Lower Austria
functional claw trimming was performed for a time period between October 2009 and
April 2010. The claw health status was evaluated and documented using the
software program Claw Manager. At the time of claw trimming the heifers of 3 farms
were kept on a continuous solid floor, heifers of 2 farms were kept on slotted floors
and heifers of the other 2 farms were kept in deep straw. The mean age of heifers
was 22,1 +/- 2,6 months. 127 of these heifers were either pregnant. The size of the
farms was between 24 to 230 dairy cows. None of these heifers had their claws
trimmed before. Only on 2 of the 7 farms claw trimming has been performed formerly.
The prevalence of each of the claw lesions, the degree severity of the
Cow-Claw-Scores (CCS) and the prevalence of lameness were documented and
The prevalence of lameness was found to be 9.4%, 2.9% of the heifers showed a
lameness degree of 2/5, 5.8% of them showed degree of 3/5 and only 1 heifer (0.7%)
had a degree 4/5 lameness.
The most commonly diagnosed claw lesions were White Line Diseases in 87.1%,
heel erosion in 84.9%, double soles in 47.5%, and sole hemorrhages in 33.1% of the
heifers. However, 15.1% showed chronic laminitis, 10.1% cork-screw claws, 8.6%
digital dermatitis, 7.9 % a too low heel height, 2.2% swelling on the coronary band,
1.4% a sole ulcer, 0.7% interdigital hyperplasia and 0.7% an interdigital phlegmon. In
total, 86.7% had first degree lesions, 11% second degree lesions and 2.3% third
The amount of the diagnosed claw lesions/disorders per heifer ranged from 0 to 28,
whith only 2 heifers showing no visible claw lesions at all. The CCS mean value
ranged between 18.0 and 63.86. The Farm-Claw-Score (FCS) in 7 herds extended
from 11 to 51.
According to the results of this study, it is highly recommended to farmers, that in
heifers at the time of their first insemination a systematic functional claw trimming and
the consequent documentation of detected claw lesions should be performed.
Publication(s) resulting from University thesis:
Kofler, J; Hangl, A; Pesenhofer, R; Landl, G
(2011): Evaluation of claw health in heifers in seven dairy farms using a digital claw trimming protocol and claw data analysis system.
Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2011; 124(7-8):272-281