Lameness ranks among the most visible signs of pain in an animal, according to Zinpro.
In fact, two lead authors of the book "Cattle Lameness: Identification, Prevention and Control of Claw Lesions" recently discussed how and why the beef and dairy cattle industries must make a concerted effort to take on this issue.
"It's important that we're doing the right things for cattle and their well-being," emphasised Dr. Connie Larson, research and nutritional services ruminant manager (North America) at Zinpro Corporation. "If we can improve education in order to provide earlier intervention, then we can work towards alleviating the discomfort and help these animals to recover."
Co-author, Dr. Dana Tomlinson, Zinpro's research nutritionist, concurred. He added that the new book is unlike other reference materials available on the subject, because it "gives the producer or the nutritionist an understandable manual they can take to the field and quickly apply the knowledge that they have in identifying the lesions that are most prevalent."
In the most recent episode of Experts Talk, Drs. Larson and Tomlinson said that visually recognising the issue, understanding the repercussions, and taking proactive preventive measures are key to reducing the prevalence of lameness in dairy and beef operations.
Since the book was released, "we're seeing a complete change in our ability to grow producer knowledge of lameness," pointed out Dr. Tomlinson. "We very logically step the person through identification of the problem, what can be done about the problem, and how one can further prevent the problem in the future."
Both authors agreed that, while there are similarities in how lameness affects beef and dairy animals, there are differences as well. "(The book) lays out some of the inherent differences between the two breeds of animals, dairy versus beef," Dr. Tomlinson continued.
"On the surface, it may look like, well, they're both suffering from foot rot or a sole ulcer; but when we dig deeper, we find that many of the causes of those lesions are different. So the neat thing about this new book is we've really helped the person that's reading the book quickly identify - is this lesion primarily a beef problem or is it a dairy problem? - through identification with different color codings."