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  • Author or Editor: G. L. Schnitkey x
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To determine prevalence of lesions associated with subclinical laminitis in first-lactation Holstein cows during early lactation and pregnant Holstein heifers during late gestation in herds with high milk production.


Cross-sectional study.


203 cattle in 13 herds.


Cattle were placed in lateral recumbency to allow visual examination and photography of their hooves. Claws on a forelimb and hind limb were examined on all cattle. Observable categories of lesions considered to be associated with subclinical laminitis in our study included yellow waxy discoloration of the sole, hemorrhage of the sole, separation of the white line, and erosion of the heel.


Lesions in at least 1 of the categories were found in all herds. Lesions in all categories were found in 11 of 13 herds. Among claws, hemorrhage of the sole was observed most frequently in the lateral claw of the hoof of the hind limb. When days in milk was treated as a covariate, significant (P < 0.01) differences were detected in the prevalence of lesions between herds.

Clinical Implications

Because the prevalence of lesions differed significantly among herds, it is logical to believe that causative factors and corrective measures also may have differed among herds. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1445-1451)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Nine dairy herds (mean size, 149 cows) with bulk-tank milk somatic cell counts of < 300,000 cells/ml and > 80% of cows with Dairy Herd Improvement Association linear somatic cell counts ≤ 4 were selected for study. Each herd was monitored for 12 consecutive months. Duplicate quarter-milk specimens were collected from each cow for bacteriologic culturing at beginning of lactation, cessation of lactation, and at the time of each clinical episode of mastitis. Streptococcus agalactiae was never isolated and Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from < 1% of all quarters. There were 554 episodes of clinical mastitis. During the year of study, the incidence rate of clinical mastitis varied from 15.6 to 63.7% of cows among the 9 herds. Mean costs per cow per year in herd for mastitis prevention were: $10 for paper towels, $3 for nonlactating cow treatment, and $10 for teat disinfectants. Mean cost associated with clinical mastitis was $107/episode. Approximately 84% ($90) of the costs attributed to a clinical episode were associated with decreased milk production and nonsalable milk. Costs of medication and professional veterinary fees per clinical episode varied Significantly among the 9 herds. Three of the herds did not have a veterinarian treat a clinical episode of mastitis during the year of study even though 2 of these herds had the first and third highest incidence rates of clinical mastitis. When calculated on a per cow in herd basis, mean costs of $40/cow/year were attributed to clinical mastitis. Our findings suggest that herds that have effectively controlled mastitis caused by contagious pathogens may still have substantial economic losses as a result of clinical mastitis and that losses and even rates of clinical mastitis may vary considerably among such herds.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association