Risk factors for increased rates of sole ulcers, white line disease, and digital dermatitis in dairy cattle from twenty-seven farms in England and Wales

J Dairy Sci. 2009 May;92(5):1971-8. doi: 10.3168/jds.2008-1590.


Claw lesion treatment records were recorded by farmers on 27 dairy farms (3,074 cows, 36,432 records) in England and Wales between February 2003 and February 2004. These were combined with farm environment and management data collected using a combination of direct observations, interviews with farmers, and milk recording data. Multilevel models were constructed for the 3 most frequently reported lesions related to lameness, namely, sole ulcers, white line disease, and digital dermatitis. Risks associated with an increased incidence of sole ulcers were parity 4 or greater, the use of roads or concrete cow tracks between the parlor and grazing, the use of lime on free stalls, and housing in free stalls with sparse bedding for 4 mo or more. The risks for white line disease were increasing parity and increasing herd size, cows at pasture by day and housed at night, and solid grooved concrete floors in yards or alleys. Solid grooved flooring was also associated with an increased risk of digital dermatitis, and cows 6 or more months after calving had a decreased risk of a first case of digital dermatitis. These results improve our understanding of the specific risks for 3 important lesions associated with bovine lameness and could be used as interventions in future clinical studies targeted at the reduction of specific lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dairying
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / epidemiology
  • Foot Diseases / veterinary*
  • Hoof and Claw / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Wales / epidemiology