El Lechero Dairy Basics -
Written by Michael Wallen
Thursday, 09 December 2010 00:00
Hoof trimmer: Michael Wallen, Tulare, California
Location: Visalia, California
Case study: Fissure on axis of claw
Chute style: Left-tilt layover chute
1. When trimming lame cows, take your time and do not rush. Bring cows into the pen in small groups so that as you sort the animals you can assess their gait and determine which leg is the problem leg.
Before trimming, check your records first. If an animal will be culled soon, it may not be worth trying to fix a hoof problem.
2. After loading the animal in the chute, some trimmers like to find the problem right away and work on fixing it, while others prefer to trim all the hooves and then evaluate the problem hoof. I like to do an initial trim and then look for any further issues. This animal favored her front left hoof and the initial trim didn’t reveal the problem.
3. The skin above the coronary band was warmer than normal and swollen. The crack on the inner wall is the cause of this heifer’s lameness. It’s a fissure on the inner axis.
4. When working on the top digit, block the lower claw before cutting into the hoof. The lower claw needs to be dry and clean when applying a block. Dripping blood and puss will weaken the hold of the glue and the block won’t hold. Line up the block with the front of the hoof – extending past the heel. The claw should be trimmed flat, so the block will be perpendicular to the cow’s leg. This will give her good support so she can walk properly as she heals.
5. Using a heat source like a heat gun or hot iron will help the glue set up quicker, which will help save you time and keep the block from moving on you.
6. After the block is applied and set up, start cutting away the loose, dead hoof on and around the fissure. Some trimmers barely cut any of the fissure away, others like to get down into the crack before applying medication. Depending on the location, be careful not to go too far into the crack.
7. After washing off the hoof, I can see the crack is deep and will probably need more than one treatment. Some heifers will bounce back quickly, while others have a hard time recovering and are culled after an infection like this.
8. I put Tetracycline 324 powder on a gauze bandage and then cover the crack to ward off further infection and help the healing process.
9. When wrapping the hoof, make sure that the bandages are not too tight around the foot and coronary band. This type of bandage sticks to itself, so you don’t have to worry about it falling off too soon. Notice how loose the top of the wrap is, while the claw is wrapped tighter. You want the bandage to flex with the skin in case the hoof swells to avoid cutting off circulation. Remove the wrap after two or three days. EL