Objective—To determine whether ultrasound could
be used to measure sole horn thickness in dairy cattle
after claw trimming with an adaptation of the
Animals—24 adult Holstein dairy cows.
Procedure—Cows were restrained in a standing position,
and claws were trimmed with an adaptation of
the Dutch trimming method. B-mode ultrasonography
was then performed. The transducer was placed on
the sole just caudal to the apex of the toe and immediately
medial and parallel to the abaxial white zone.
The inner margin of the sole was identified as a thin
hyperechoic line. Soles were considered to be too
thin if sole horn thickness, determined by use of ultrasonography,
was < 5 mm.
Results—Sole horn, underlying soft tissues, and the
distal surface of the third phalanx were imaged in 151
claws. The inner margin of the sole could not be identified
in 4 claws, and 37 claws could not be imaged
because cows collapsed in the restraining chute.
Mean ± SD sole thickness for all claws was 7.1 ± 1.3
mm. Only 1 sole was < 5 mm thick. The lateral front
claws were significantly thicker than the medial hind
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that ultrasound imaging can be used to determine
sole thickness in dairy cattle after routine claw
trimming. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:492–494)