An evaluation of the agreement between digital dermatitis scoring methods in the parlor, pen and hoof-trimming chute
Keywords:lameness, dairy cattle, digital dermatitis, hoof trimming, hyperkeratosis, detection methods, milk production, animal welfare
Digital dermatitis (DD) is 1 of the most common causes of lameness in dairy cattle with prevalence levels of approximately 20% at the time of hoof trimming. The disease is characterized by a variety of clinical signs including hyperkeratosis and ulceration predominately affecting the interdigital cleft or skin surrounding the interdigital space on the plantar aspect of the foot. The disease has a significant impact on milk production, profitability, and the welfare of dairy cattle. To minimize the effects of DD on the animal and the farm there is a need for rapid detection methods. In addition, an accurate rapid scoring method would allow for a mechanism to evaluate the impact of a change in management practices at the herd level. Currently, the gold standard in detecting cows with DD lesions is the hoof trimming chute. Scoring in the hoof trimming chute is time consuming, and other scoring methods have been developed to identify cows with digital dermatitis in the milking parlor. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of a 5 point DD scoring method in 3 different parlor types and in 3 alternative locations on dairy farms.