Survey of veterinarians and hoof trimmers on methods applied to treat claw lesions in dairy cattle
Keywords:dairy cattle, lameness, hoof trimming, claw lesions, claws, cows, dairy cows, drug therapy, hooves, lesions, methodology, oxytetracycline, surveys, techniques, tetracycline, veterinarians
A survey was administered to members of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) and the Hoof Trimmers Association (HTA) to identify various treatment methods for claw horn lesions. A total of 345 people responded to the survey, of which 196 identified themselves as members of AABP, 111 as members of HTA, 9 as having membership in both organizations, and 29 providing no information as to affiliation with either of these organizations. A total of 307 respondents were included in the final analysis. The majority of veterinarians (80%) indicated that their knowledge about foot care was part of their veterinary education, 34% developed or refined their skills and understanding through experience and attendance at various continuing education programs, and 9% cited additional training from attendance at a formalized foot care program. Training cited by hoof trimmers included the following: 65% apprenticeship with another trimmer, 41% professional hoof care training program, and 30% learning primarily through experience. Sixty-eight percent of veterinarians reported removing all loose horn adjacent to the lesion without causing it to bleed, compared to 86% of hoof trimmers (P less than 0.01). Seventy-six percent of veterinarians reported routine application of a foot block to the sound (healthy) claw when treating sole ulcers compared to 86% of hoof trimmers (P less than 0.05). Topical medications for ulcers and abscessed claw horn lesions were used by 59% of veterinarians and 53% of hoof trimmers. The medication used most frequently was the powder form of tetracycline or oxytetracycline (48% by veterinarians and 81% by hoof trimmers). The majority of survey participants did not recommend withholding milk following topical treatment with tetracycline or oxytetracycline. Both survey groups agreed that sole ulcers were a painful condition, but the majority of veterinarians did not recommend analgesics for the treatment of sole ulcer lesions.