Cow hoof diseases and treatment

Cattle maintenance requires considerable effort. You need to regularly clean the crib, properly feed the animals and monitor their health. In the latter case, it is necessary to pay attention not only to the general condition of the cow, but also to the skin, teeth and hooves. Diseases of the latter bring the animal a lot of inconvenience, because most of it walks or stands.

Cow hoof structure

The third and fourth fingers of the cow end with hooves, which together form a hoof. This is a complex organ that performs the function of depreciation and is a modified skin epithelium. It consists of a stratum corneum, tendons, muscles, bones, blood vessels. Two hooves are separated by a gap, at the base they form a vault and a skin case. In addition to them, on the fifth and second fingers there are additional hooves that do not perform a supporting function.

From the point of view of anatomy, the hoof consists of skin, in other words, keratinized epithelium, superficial connective membrane, deep fascia, nerves, blood vessels, lymph, bones, and tendons. With the help of the latter and joints, such functions of the distal part of the limb as bending, extension, rotation are determined. The dead outer hard layer of the skin or, in other words, the horn is of primary importance in the treatment of the hoofed part.

During the life of the animal, it constantly grows and replaces areas that have worn out. If the animal is actively grazing, then the sole and wall of the hoof are erased. If it is kept in a stall way with insufficient walking range, then the hoof grows faster than it erases, and this leads to its cracks, deformation, bends.

Did you know? Cows differ from other animals in their wonderful sense of time. That is why the correct daily routine is the key to good yields.

Cattle Hoof Disease

In general, hoof diseases in cows arise due to various factors. Among them, one can distinguish poor cleaning of the crib, infection, incorrect setting of the legs. Next, we briefly dwell on the most common diseases of this organ.


Cow lameness is considered an ungulate disease and is characterized by damage to the stratum corneum of the hoof, which brings the animal pain. Its reasons may be:

  • poor harvesting;
  • infrequent walks;
  • infectious and non-communicable diseases;
  • malnutrition;
  • irregular shape of the flooring.
Lameness in cows is expressed when they:

  • try not to step on the foot;
  • “Pulling” a limb along with itself;
  • keep your foot on weight.

If you notice that the animal is limping, you need to immediately begin treatment, which will help restore the stratum corneum. If this is not done, the disease can trigger mastitis, which will affect milk yield. Foot baths with a special solution are considered the basis for ridding a cow of limp. They are used in combination with rubbing the hoof with antimicrobial agents or using a spray with antibiotics.

Did you know? A cow can be made to climb stairs. But she cannot go down on her own.


Bruises of the limbs and their hoofed parts, including delivering pain and discomfort to the cow. With bruises, tendons, ligaments, muscle tissue, and blood vessels are damaged. Their reasons may be:

  • tissue damage by any blunt object, while the skin is not broken;
  • tripping and falling;
  • boom injuries;
  • injuries caused by other animals.
Bruises are manifested in the following:

  • joint shape change;
  • swelling;
  • the animal does not stand on its foot;
  • visually it is seen that reliance on a damaged leg brings the animal pain;
  • appetite worsens.

In the first days of treatment, you need to apply cold to the damaged area and anesthetize with Novocain. After this, massage, warm compresses, rubbing, wraps, the use of a special Sollux lamp, and “Reopyrin” injections are shown. If hemorrhage occurs with a bruise, then an antibiotic of the Streptomycin type should be used for therapy.

Important! If you notice any change in your gait or standing, consult your veterinarian for help. A quick diagnosis will not allow the progression of a possible serious illness.

Phlegmon ungulate nimbus

The inflammatory process is observed in the corolla, the gap between the hooves, sometimes in the crumb. Its reasons may be:

  • wounds;
  • injuries
  • bruises;
  • arthritis;
  • hoof inflammation with the release of pus;
  • squeezing the limb with a tourniquet, wire.

This pathological condition is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • lethargic condition of the animal;
  • decreased appetite;
  • decreased milk productivity;
  • hoof hot at normal body temperature;
  • local swelling in the gap between the hooves;
  • a thick layer of tissue with signs of infiltration appears above the hoof;
  • the animal tries not to stand on a sore foot;
  • later, an abscess may occur on the lesion;
  • in severe cases, exfoliation of the horn tissue is possible.

    At the beginning of treatment, the affected area is blocked by Novocaine injections with antibiotics. Such a medicine is also injected into the retina above the inter-experimental gap. Apply alcohol dressings or dressings with ichthyol ointment to a sore spot. If there are foci of an abscess, then the veterinarian can horizontally incise the skin in the affected area. When the foci mature, they are opened, washed with special solutions and then treated with antibiotics.

    Important! When removing tissue swelling by incision, the surface must be cut only horizontally. Vertical incisions cause cracks in the hoof wall.

    Subdermatitis (hoof rot)

    A type of pododermatitis called “foot rot” is an infectious disease. The hoof is infected with Bacteroides nodosus. In the body of the animal, the bacterium can live 3-4 years. Causes of infection can be:

    • contacts with sick animals;
    • weak immunity;
    • dirty crib;
    • hoof injuries.

    Symptoms of the disease are as follows:

    • lameness, lagging behind the herd;
    • the cow licks the sore spot and tries not to stand on the sore foot;
    • redness of the skin and hair loss in the space between the hooves;
    • the skin in the inter-experimental space is covered with white discharge with pus and an unpleasant odor;
    • when the condition worsens, the cow moves worse;
    • losing weight, sometimes refusing food;
    • in advanced cases, the horn tissue may exfoliate, the infection spreads to other organs and the animal may die.

    Before starting treatment, the sick animal is separated from the rest into a separate room. The ungulate part is thoroughly cleaned and the wounds treated. A ten percent formalin solution is prepared and the hoof is lowered into it for 5 minutes. After treatment with antibiotics such as “Oxytetracycline”, “Biomycin” or “Bicillin-5”. At the same time, disinfecting and healing dressings with ointments such as Levomekol, ichthyol or with the addition of furazolidone are applied to the affected area.

    Important! All medicines and their dosages should be prescribed only by a veterinarian. Self-treatment of the animal can lead to an aggravation of the situation, as well as an overdose and side effects.

    Ungulate erosion

    Hoof erosion can begin for several reasons:

    • malnutrition;
    • poor condition of the floor in the crib.
    Symptoms of hoof erosion can be quite easily noticed:

    • visually the outer part of the hoof is larger than the inner;
    • it is difficult for a cow to distribute body weight when moving;
    • disturbed walking;
    • there may be damage and suppuration of soft tissues.

    Treatment for erosion is the imposition of a special heel on the hoof, which levels its parts and stabilizes the load. If the inflammatory process has begun, then it is removed with the help of antiseptics.


    Among cattle diseases, cases such as laminitis are common. It can develop in the case of:

    • malnutrition;
    • poor conditions;
    • feed changes;
    • as a complication in severe calving.
    Its main features are:

    • the hoof changes in shape and grows up;
    • reliance on a limb causes apparent discomfort to the animal;
    • difficulties with movement;
    • raising a sick limb;
    • limping;
    • in advanced cases, peeling of the horn tissue is possible.

    Treatment involves applying cold clay to a sore spot and injections containing Novocaine and calcium chloride. The cow needs to be fed only with high-quality food, to somewhat limit water intake and ensure peace. Antihistamines may be used.

    Strawberry disease

    The disease with a berry name is not very dangerous for the health of the cow, but still quite unpleasant. It can provoke:

    • dirt in the stable;
    • irregular cleaning of hooves;
    • malnutrition.
    Strawberry disease is characterized by such manifestations:

    • in the inter-experimental space or diadem, the skin changes;
    • the boobyon can limp;
    • the skin turns red;
    • tubercles may form on the affected area.

    The best treatment for this disease is its prevention, namely: keeping hooves clean. There are no special preparations for this ailment, so all you can do to ease the health of your ward is to clean your hooves, treat wounds with antiseptic agents, apply healing baths, and ensure animal peace.


    Of course, it is better not to allow the development of any disease of the hooves in the cows, than subsequently to treat it. For this, there are preventive measures, which are expressed in the following:

    1. Examine hooves regularly, clean and trim them.
    2. Keep the stall clean.
    3. Change the litter in time, do not allow sharp objects to get into it.
    4. Periodically do hoof cleaning baths.
    5. Protect the crib and pasture from objects that could injure a boobyon.
    6. Provide proper nutrition and ample walking.

    In order for the cow to feel comfortable, it is necessary to monitor the state of her hooves. If any disease occurs, it must be promptly diagnosed and treated. Remember that any disease of the hooves gives the cow a discomfort and pain, and some of them can even lead to the death of the animal.

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