Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Herd Health

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


While you are walking around it is not uncommon to get a rock in your shoe or accidentally twist an ankle. We have the luxury of getting our feet quickly inspected to see if something is wrong with them or even switching shoes if they hurt our feet. Cows do not have that luxury and need to have their feet trimmed and maintained to keep them happy on their feet.

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Rising temperatures and increasing precipitation provide a perfect storm for mastitis-causing bacteria.

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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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