Herd Health

Find information about mastitis, transition cows, vaccination protocols, working with your veterinarian, hoof care and hoof trimming.


Claw lesion identification and recording is a key component of effective lameness reduction programs.

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Published: March 23, 2009 issue of Progressive Dairyman

This 2009 article recently received an increase in online traffic. Scroll down or to jump to the article.

Back then, Dykstra Dairy’s herd manager Eric Van Wyk talked with freelance writer Loretta Sorenson about trimming hooves on the operation’s 3,000 cows. The northwest Iowa farm employs a hoof trimmer who spends 80 percent of his time focused on hoof health.

Because this article was so popular, we asked Van Wyk, “What protocols have you changed in your hoof health program since 2009?”

He says, “We now trim all of the cows at both mid-lactation and at dryoff. We were only trimming at dryoff before and were monitoring hooves on a visual basis. We also purchased a new chute that’s made hoof trimming easier on the cows. Plus, we’re able to get cows trimmed more quickly.”

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Lame cattle are in pain, produce less milk, can take longer to conceive and often have to be culled earlier than they should have been.

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Bovine lameness ranks third among the leading causes of cows leaving their herd.

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Milk cows experience high levels of stress at the time of calving and the weeks that follow. More often than not this extra stress manifests itself as metabolic problems such as milk fever, mastitis, retained placenta, ketosis, displaced abomasum or laminitis.

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With the new year, we tend to strive for positive change and set goals to help us achieve this change. This idea can be applied to a transition cow program.

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A new vaccine developed by scientists at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine aims to provide better prevention of Johne’s disease with fewer side effects than the current vaccine on the market.

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