Some observations on the incidence of lameness in dairy cattle in Somerset.
A three year study of practice records of lame cows and meteorological data on rainfall suggests a correlation between rainfall and incidence of lameness in dairy cattle. Over a 12 month period requests to treat lameness in 1256 cattle were received by one six-person practice and were the subject of a detailed survey. The incidence on the 150 farms where lameness was recorded was 7.33%, 92.2% of lameness occurring in the foot. "White line disease" (34.9%), pricked sole (20.4%), "foul in the foot" (14.3%) ulcerated sole (11.4%), and foreign body (4.8%) accounted for 85.8% of the 927 recorded foot lesions. Hind foot lameness appeared more common in older cows, though this was not the case with front foot lameness. Lameness also appeared to be most common in early lactation and relatively uncommon in the dry period. Seasonal distribution differed between the lesions, ulcerated sole being more common February to May, foul in the foot and white line separation in the autumn, and white line abscess and pricked sole in the autumn and winter months.