The Impact of Lameness on Welfare of the Dairy Cow

Helen Rebecca Whay, Jan K. Shearer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


• The five freedoms offer a useful framework for the discussion of lameness and its impact on the welfare of lame cows.
• Altered feeding behavior may be an important cause of reduced body condition, a smaller digital cushion, and lameness due to sole ulcers and white line disease.
• Providing a comfortable environment for lame cows during the post-treatment period is critical to their recovery and welfare.
• Pain associated with injury or disease of feet and/or legs is manifested by lameness. Pain management is an important part of therapy. In cases of severe lameness (SL), euthanasia may be the preferred option to end otherwise uncontrollable suffering.
• Lameness interferes with an animal’s ability to exhibit natural behaviors by altering lying time, social interaction, ovarian activity and estrus intensity, and possibly rumination behavior.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice
Early online date6 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2017


  • Lameness
  • Animal welfare
  • The five freedoms


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