Lameness is one of the biggest insults to the well-being and productivity of dairy cows, which results in colossal economic losses for dairy producers. Nevertheless, it is overlooked and least studied dairy problem in Pakistan. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of lameness at commercial dairy herds in Punjab, Pakistan. The sample size was 2,555 cows from 15 dairy herds assessed using a 5-point locomotion rating scale. A cow with a locomotion score of 3 or higher was considered to be lame. Lame cows were investigated for hoof and claw disorders based on clinical assessment. The prevalence of lameness at the herd-level ranged from 3.08% to 33.08% (overall = 14.20%). The prevalence based on severity showed that on all farms, the majority of cows were mildly lame (7.71%) followed in order by moderately lame (4.61%) and severely lame (1.88%). Prevalence of lameness was significantly higher (P<0.05) in cows with a low body condition score (≤2.75) than in cows with a higher body condition score. In addition, cows fed commercial concentrate were 1.6 times more likely to be lame than cows fed TMR. Cows on farms with an annual hoof trimming frequency had 1.7 times higher odds to be lame than cows with twice-a-year hoof trimming. Similarly, cows in environmentally controlled sheds had a 2.6 times higher probability of lameness than cows kept in open sheds. Moreover, prevalence of lameness was significantly associated (P<0.05) with the seasons of the year; highest in wet summer while lowest in spring. Among the hoof and claw lesions, sole ulcer was significantly (P <0.05) more prevalent than white line disease, sole hemorrhage or inter-digital dermatitis. It was concluded that lameness and hoof lesions are important health problems in studied commercial dairy herds. The occurrence of lameness could be reduced in dairy herds if producers become aware of the associated risk factors, and improve management practices related to cows, environment and facility design.
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