Healthy Feet Programme

AHDB Dairy
January 2017
All rights reserved.
Applied research

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Resource explained: 

This is the webpage for the AHDB Dairy Healthy Feet Programme (DHFP), which aims to help you reduce the number of lame cows on your farm through identifying and applying the right management techniques. Cow lameness affects wider health and welfare issues and can cost you time and money. Lameness conditions can be caused by infection and by physical and management factors. To tackle them effectively, you need to be able to identify lameness types and develop a structured management approach - which the DHFP provides. This page explains what the DHFP offers and what the approach is based on. From here you can access many useful resources and tools in relation to cattle mobility, recognising lesions, and hoof care. The DHFP will help you diagnose problems, identify actions, and develop skills to control lameness. Through it, you can also access one-to-one advice from vets, foot trimmers, and ‘mobility’ mentors.

Findings & recommendations: 
  • The DHFP approach focuses on:
    • Early detection and prompt, effective treatment of lame cows
    • Low infection pressure
    • Good horn quality and hoof shape
    • Low forces on the feet - good cow comfort and cow flow
  • Through the ‘Mobility scoring resources’ you can access:
    • Information on foot and claw health and identifying disorders;
    • a ‘lesion trouble shooter’ (detailing lesions you might see and risks associated with them);
    • a DHFP guide;
    • an AHDB Dairy publication on footbathing and lameness; helping you appraise your existing system and identify areas for improvement. (Regular footbathing can help combat problems such as digital dermatitis);
    • instructions on how to carry out mobility scoring to help reduce poor mobility;
    • a record sheet you can use to record cows who have had their feet trimmed and lesions observed;
    • guidance on installing cow tracks and minimising slurry pooling (promoting clean and healthy feet); a footbath guide to help you use foot bath solutions effectively.
  • Knowing what lesions are present when lifting a cow's foot is key to understanding the cause of problems and how to address them. The DHFP ‘Lesion recognition resource’ card will help you recognise and classify lesions.
  • You can access practical information on hoof care through the ‘Hoof care field guide.’

Please also see ‘Prevent lameness through good husbandry

Recognising Lameness - brought to you by AHDB Dairy