What Is Mobility Scoring & Why Is It Useful?

Vet Tech Becky Nye explains more about the importance of mobility scoring

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Mobility scoring is an effective way to identify and monitor lameness in a herd.

Scoring is usually carried out at milking times when the cows either enter or exit the parlour. If this isn’t possible they can be seen in sheds or at grass however the results may vary as the ground can be more uneven giving a false impression of the cows’ mobility. Scoring is carried out by our specially trained Vet Techs, Becky and Lottie, who will watch the cows walk at a relaxed pace and will note down the numbers of any lame cows.

The scoring system is based on a 0-3 scale, explained below:

0 – Good Mobility – No lameness.

1 – Imperfect Mobility – Mild lameness but limb not identifiable.

2 – Impaired Mobility – A cow with lameness and the limb can be identified.

3 – Severely Impaired Mobility – A cow with identified lameness and is slower than the herd

If a cow scores ‘0-1’ this is acceptable mobility, a score of ‘2’ would suggest the cow would benefit from treatment and a score of ‘3’ indicates that the cow will need urgent treatment.

What Are The Costs?

Recent studies have shown that the average lameness case can last around 5 months (Green et al,2002). The simplest way to calculate the cost over this time is on a £/day/lame cow basis. This study showed that the average cost of a score 2 cow was £2.20 per day the cow is lame. It’s also predicted that score 3 cows could cost slightly more up to (£5 per day). Above is a pie chart of other hidden costs involved with lameness (Willsher and Bell, 2009).

Why Should You Mobility Score?

Mobility scoring will produce reliable data you can use to monitor your farm’s level of lameness. This will in turn save money by prompt identification and treatment of lame animals, reducing the number of days lame, therefore reducing the cost per case. The sooner treatment is administered in the disease process the higher the lameness recovery rates, highlighting the importance of prompt identification. Untreated lame cows are a welfare concern and as part of new red tractor guidelines a mobility scoring protocol must be in place.

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