Lameness Scoring Indicators
You saw the video about identifying and scoring lameness earlier this week, now here’s the content to reiterate:
New Zealand’s industry-standard Lameness Scoring System was created by DairyNZ, adapted from similar systems in the US and UK to suit New Zealand herds. Lameness is scored on six indicators - Walking speed: cows should be able to keep up with the herd at a walking pace similar to humans. Reduced speed will be more noticeable when cows are walking at their own pace back to the paddock. Walking rhythm: lameness will cause uneven or interrupted rhythm in a cow’s confident and fluid motion using all four legs. Stride length and foot placement: cows with lameness may have a shortened stride and their rear foot may fall short of the front foot placement. Weight bearing: lame cows will not fully weight-bear on the lame leg. The opposite leg will compensate, with dew claws sinking closer to ground level. Back: An arched back can indicate lameness. Head: Lame cows may lower or bob their head.
LAMENESS SCORING SYSTEM: Lameness Score 0 – walks evenly, no action required. Lameness Score 1 – walks unevenly, minor action required. Record and monitor. Lameness Score 2 – Lame, action required. Report, draft and examine within 48 hours. Lameness Score 3 – Very lame, urgent action required. Draft and examine within 24 hours, vet may be required.
Lameness scoring should take place throughout the year on flat, even surfaces for the most accurate results.