Lameness In Calves After Handling

We’d like to draw your attention to a recent outbreak of lameness in a group of 100 nine-month-old beef calves in Scotland. Read the full story.

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We’d like to draw your attention to a recent outbreak of lameness in a group of 100 nine-month-old beef calves in Scotland that were handled through a crush three times soon after housing for worming and vaccinations.

Over the next few weeks, 30 calves developed lameness and coronary band swellings, and were diagnosed with toe tip necrosis syndrome (TTNS).

TTNS occurs when white line damage at the toe allows infection to track into the hoof capsule and pedal bone. The pedal bone becomes infected and dies off. TTNS can be caused by repeated trauma or wear when calves (especially wild ones!) are moved off pasture and onto concrete yards or hard floors, leading to impact damage.

The risk of TTNS can be reduced by:

  1. Ensuring that calves coming off pasture and requiring multiple handlings have minimal standing time on concrete/rough surfaces.
  2. Ensuring that any surfaces they do stand on (concrete, crush floors, trailer floors) are well padded by rubber, straw etc.

We can all learn from this incident – calves’ hooves are delicate structures and can be permanently damaged by just a few rough handlings. Look after them!

White line separation at the toe, caused by repeated trauma, can lead to severe pedal bone necrosis and infection, pedal bone fracture and septic arthritis of the coffin joint. This picture shows toe tip necrosis syndrome in a calf. Part of the sole has been removed to show the necrotic pedal bone (arrows)

Out of hours emergency

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