To investigate the association between locomotion score and types of hoof lesion, cows from 91 selected dairy herds in southern Chile were studied. The locomotion score was recorded for all of the lactating cows (n=10,699). The mean prevalence of lame cows, when all locomotion scores >1 were included was 33.2% in large herds and 28.7% in small herds. There were 39.7%, 42%, 17.9% and 0.4% cows with locomotion scores of 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively. Feet (with locomotion scores representative of all severities of lameness) were examined on 676 cows from 34 large herds and 422 cows from 57 small herds. The prevalence of lesions by type ranged from 65% of cattle with at least one white line lesion to 2% of cattle with an interdigital growth. The lesions linked with increasingly poor locomotion were sole ulcer, double sole and interdigital purulent inflammation. There was correlation between claw skin lesions and also between sole ulcer and double sole within cows. It was concluded that the presence of a lesion does not imply that it is necessarily associated with increasing locomotion score. The lack of association between certain lesions and poor locomotion scores indicates either that these lesions are causing different severities of lameness, or that the case definitions used were not sufficiently precise. Locomotion score may not be sensitive enough to detect all lesions (and possibly discomfort).
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