Ultrasonographical examination of bovine claws through the sole horn on weight-bearing claws

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Claw horn disruptions in the bovine claw are believed to be a consequence of pressure on the sole corium from the third phalanx, which may be caused by a weakening of the suspensory apparatus in the claw. We aimed to develop an ultrasonographic method that would make it possible to measure the thickness of the soft tissue between the third phalanx and the sole horn on a weight-bearing claw. A device was developed to record the sole horn and soft tissue thickness indirectly through a polyethylene plate, and 52 feet from slaughtered cows were examined using ultrasonography, both directly and indirectly. Soft tissue and sole horn thickness measurements in the apex and the plantar part of the sole were compared with anatomical measurements of transected claws. To assess the method on weight-bearing versus non-weight-bearing claws, we examined the hind claws of 10 live cattle without transection. We found a weak correlation between the soft tissue thickness measured by ultrasound and anatomical measurements. A strong correlation was observed between the direct ultrasound approach and the developed indirect method. There was a considerable difference between weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing claws, signifying a weak or nonexistent correlation. However, this part of the study was only done on 10 live cows and the results should be interpreted with caution. We concluded that it would be possible to measure the soft tissue using an indirect ultrasound approach on a weight-bearing-claw standing on a polyethylene plate. The major difference between the results of weight-bearing versus non-weight-bearing claws suggests that future studies of the suspensory apparatus could focus on weight-bearing claws.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)4364-4375
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • claw horn, dairy cow, digital cushion, ultrasound

ID: 214338225