Blocks and anti-inflammatories leave 95% of lame cows better off

Published 21 August 13

applying a block

Applying a foot block and using anti-inflammatory drugs have proven benefits when treating lame cows with a sole ulcer, sole haemorrhage or white line disease, according to provisional results disclosed from DairyCo-funded research.

When cows are mobility scored five weeks after treatment, the best results come from a therapeutic trim, plus the addition of a block and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, explains Professor Jon Huxley of the Nottingham University Vet School. “With this combination treatment, 95% of cows are better off than with a therapeutic trim alone.”

Both additional treatments also have a benefit when used separately, compared with a trim. “When we put on a block after a trim, three-quarters of cows are better off and when we use an anti-inflammatory after a trim two-thirds are better off,” says Prof Huxley.

“It appears that the effects of the two are cumulative, but for both treatments farmers will have to consider the extra costs, particularly for anti-inflammatory treatment.

“But these provisional results already show that even for mild cases of lameness blocks are delivering benefits and I will be using them more frequently for milder cases than I have previously,” says Prof Huxley.

The study involved five farms with 1100 cows. During the 12 month study 500 cows showed some signs of lameness and 180 were allocated to one of the four study treatments.

The project is part of DairyCo’s Health, Welfare and Nutrition Research Partnership led by the University of Nottingham. A full list of current DairyCo research projects can be found online in our research and development section.