Vets on course to help treat cattle lameness

Lameness course.
Lameness course.

For our dairy farmers, infertility, mastitis and lameness are the health problems that worry them most.

Infertility is addressed by having a specialist AI technician visit to get their cows in calf. Many have learned how to serve the cows themselves. Regular visits by our farm vets help with treatments for problem cows and confirming that cows are pregnant.

Mastitis is controlled by daily monitoring of cows in the milking parlour and measuring individual cell counts at the laboratory once a month. Our vets review results and decide which treatment approach is best for the herd.

Lameness is tackled using regular footbaths and pedicures. It’s like a foot spa for cows. Our vets help by treating any that are particularly difficult and all dairy farmers have specialist handling equipment to make the job a bit easier.

The same problems affect beef cows too, but because they occur much less frequently, it is uncommon for there to be routine procedures to solve them. In particular, few of our beef farmers have specialist equipment for dealing with lame cows and bulls.

Alnorthumbria Vets has always provided a mechanical tipping crate to safely turn our patients onto their side for foot treatments. So when we decided to upgrade it, we also resolved to upgrade our knowledge too.

Last week all our farm vets attended an Advanced Cattle Lameness Course over two days.

We recruited Owen Atkinson, a nationally recognised lameness consultant, to sharpen our knowledge and skills. All roads led to Maxwell’s at Doddington, who kindly provided 20 cows for us to practice on.

Now we’ve got 10 farm vets equipped to mend the lame cows of Northumberland.