Dairy Cattle - Lameness (PB4020)

Nutritionally Induced Laminitis

Laminitis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the laminae which lie immediately below the outer horny wall of the foot, resulting in great pain to the cow. The condition may be caused by traumatic, septic or toxic factors.

lamecow2.jpg (15574 bytes) Any feeding mismanagement is likely to provide a risk factor for foot health. Major changes of diet for cows at calving, heavy feeding of concentrates after calving and high proportions of cereals in the diet are all thought to be pre-disposing factors to laminitis.

The risk of lameness related to feeding can be reduced by planned feeding management, including correct ration and forage analysis. The guidelines to be followed to minimise the risk are:

  • where concentrates and forage are fed separately, the forage to compound dry matter ratios in the diet should be no less than 40:60
  • with complete diet feeding/total mixed rations, the forage ratio can be lowered
    • no more than 4kg of compound should be fed at any one meal
    • access to forage should be allowed immediately after feeding compound, ie forage should be freely available after parlour feeding
    • the level of protein should be suitable for the level of milk production; levels up to 19% crude protein in the total diet dry matter may be required for high yielding cows, although this would be too high for lower milk output
    • a digestible fibre such as well made silage should be included as part of the energy source
    • high energy diets should be introduced gradually, particularly around calving
    • adequate comfortable lying areas and clean bedding to encourage animals to lie down should be provided
    • excessive stressful activity for cattle should be avoided.










    ADLib logo Content provided by the Agricultural Document Library
    © University of Hertfordshire, 2011