A scoring system for grading corkscrew claws in dairy cattle

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Corkscrew claw (CC) in dairy cattle is increasingly reported in dairy herds. CC is a progressive deformity of the claw capsule with uncertain aetiology and pathogenesis. Genetics and specific environmental factors are suspected of contributing to the development of this irreversible condition. CC has been found in lame cows; however, the cause and effect has not been established. To perform analysis of risk factors, treatment and pathogenesis, a definition of severity scores is called for. The aim of this study was to measure and analyse CC characteristics from photos of cows’ feet to describe and evaluate a scoring system for CC. Width of the visible part of the axial wall, degree of contact between the toe and the floor and angle of the distal part of the abaxial wall as a proxy for the deviation of the abaxial wall was measured from 393 pictures of CC. Based on the measurements on the claws, the parameter “width of the axial wall” was chosen to define the scores. The parameter was divided into three intervals to define either mild CC 0.3–2.0 cm, moderate CC 2.1–3.5 cm or severe CC>3.5 cm and correlation between the parameters; level of contact between the toe and the floor and the angle of the distal abaxial wall was evaluated. There was a significant positive linear correlation between width of the axial wall and angle of the distal part of the abaxial wall (r=0.91), the wider the axial wall, the more the abaxial wall deviated in the distal part. As the width of the axial wall increased the toe increasingly lost contact with the floor, this association was significant for mild CC and moderate CC but not for severe CC. The Interobserver agreement of the CC Scoring system was tested by 30 claw trimmers each scoring 32 cadaver feet and by 2 trained observers on 28 photos of feet using Cohen´s weighted kappa and showed substantial to almost perfect agreement between untrained and trained observers, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106098
JournalVeterinary Journal
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Claw deformities, Corkscrew claws, Interobserver variation, Scoring system

ID: 390192316