Sole Ulcers In Cows

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The sole ulcers are sores that usually arise on the inner side of the outer claw. It’s a bulge of granular-like tissue that sticks in the sole. Usually single ulcers are associated with clinical symptoms of laminitis. Other factors can predispose cows to solitary ulcers such as moisture and manure, unnecessary wear, and inadequate hoof trimming. Typically single ulcers develop in both hind legs.

Causes And Clinical Signs of Sole Ulcers

The single ulcers are caused by the sinking of the pedal bone, with concussive damage across the hooked mechanism on the pedal bone, which causes inflammation. This is most prominent in the outer claw of the hind legs. The inner claws are most often impacted on the front legs.

The clinical symptoms of single ulcers include:

  • Pain and lameness;
  • bruising on the sole surface-yellow discoloration
  • the thinning of the sole by the ulcer

Treatment Of Sole Ulcers

Sole¬†ulcer lesions need to be properly removed by a professional trimmer. The goal is to move weight bearing to a sound, healthier claw and in order to do this, the opposing claw can be fitted with a block, raise the infected claw, relieve the strain and provide an opportunity for the ulcer to recover. The sole should be gently trimmed away and ‘dish-out’ around the ulcer to relieve discomfort, but any skin protruding from the ulcer cannot be excreted or handled with any caustic agent, since this can be uncomfortable and slow to recover.

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In the best treatment, many sole ulcers will never fully heal, and infected cows will have recurrent low-level mobility issues and will need more frequent corrective foot trimming than usual during their productive lives.

Prevention Of Sole Ulcers

Optimizing periparturient cow health and comfort is important for the prevention of single ulceration. First lactation heifers, in particular, must be steadily moved to the herd, ideally isolated from multiparous cows, so that they can become accustomed to environmental and dietary changes before calving, without having to deal with larger mature cows. Rumen’s health must be protected by having a well-balanced, regular diet in a situation where all cows will feed what they want to eat. Attention to risk factors that result in increased time spent standing, such as improved stall convenience, decreased milking time and improved heat reduction, are also very effective management measures. Finally, the cows should be trimmed periodically to maintain a proper equilibrium in order to reduce the consequences of overloading of the outer claw.