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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)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association