A prospective cohort study of foot temperature and claw horn disruption lesions in non-lame dairy cows.

  • Robert Edwards

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science (MSc)


Claw horn disruption lesions (CHDL’s) are the cause of a large proportion of lameness in dairy cows. The early diagnosis and prompt treatment of lameness lesions have been shown to be key elements to controlling the disease on farm. The present study sought to establish whether the repeated measurement of foot temperature, recorded from the plantar pastern area using infrared thermometry, could accurately predict the presence and severity of CHDL’s in non-lame post-partum dairy cows.

For this purpose the temperature of the hind feet of 112 cows were recorded three times a week for the first eight to ten weeks of lactation after which they were trimmed and examined for the presence of CHDL’s. Three - level, multilevel analysis, found ambient temperature and parity to be significant predictors of foot temperature. The lesion scores in six of the fifteen different categories used to score disease were also found to be positive and significant predictors of foot temperature when added to the model.

Analysis using receiver operating characteristic curves showed all significant predictive models to have similar poor levels of accuracy at predicting disease. Accuracy was poor whether the models were predicting the presence and absence of disease defined as lesion score ≥1 versus no lesions, or lesion scores in the fourth quartile of scores versus lesions scores in quartile one to three.

Date of Award19 Mar 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorBecky Whay (Supervisor) & Ed G M van Klink (Supervisor)

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