Case study: lesions on hocks

Case study: lesions on hocks

Our trainer Christian Manser brought us another interesting case study. He noticed cows having lesions on their hocks. The cows have them on both sides and only on the inside.

What do you think can cause these lesions? How can we prevent them? Please share your thoughts!

Comments (12)

Marcos Zenobi

First thing I would look at is the side (small) of the beds. Whach some cows when stand-up.

Malik Muhamamd Ali

Were their lesion on any other part of animal body?

Whats bedding floor? I can see starw but is it stall? whats dimensions of it? how many is waiting cows?

mohamed ellabban

Mainly dirty beeding and uncomfortable bedding lead cows to stay on the concrete floor

Timothy Johnson

Good comments so far! What arrangent for milking? Do you have between the legs attachment of milk clusters ? Could inside of hocks be rubbing on clusters dying milking?

Steven Stachura

Evaluation of facility design pertaining to cow comfort is essential. Additional potential factors I would consider are nutritional and health issues, such as Subacute Ruminal Acidosis. Recurrence of Abscesses (or lesions) is one of the many clinical syndrome symptoms caused by Subacute Ruminal Acidosis, due to suppressed immunity. If Subacute Ruminal Acidosis is the culprit for the lesions I would suggest supplementation of an organic selenium trace mineral in hopes to restore immune function and health.

Anouk Brinkhoff

Thanks for your reactions here, I see some very good thoughts!

This is actually the problem: rubbing against the udder. The skin "burns", only on top of the bone, while the soft udder skin stays intact.
Some risk factors are: udder edema, lameness, rough saw dust, non shaved udders and poor hygiene.
Prevention: provide ample dry non-abbrasive bedding, ensure excellent nutrition during transition and early lactation, prevent lameness, shave or flame udder hair.

We have some more info about lesions in a similar blog we posted a while ago: http://www.cowsignals.com/.../why_is_this_lesion_here_on...

Sipke Scheepsma

Hi, to all you cowboys and girls,

The problem you see here on the legs, has nothing to do with bedding.
But is a signal off a DON or Vomitoxin came from the feed.
please do test a vew feedsamples for mycotoxins.
mostly found in the Maïssilage,and Weet products, TGS is very bad for cows.
After testing please contact us for a Mycotoxinbinder, and please feed the cows Spirit Lactation, which is a immune stimulator.
the leg problems will be gone.

Many Greetings and keep up the good work.! Sipke Scheepsma.

Joep Driessen

Feeding cows well, prevention of acidocis is of great importance. 50% bloody soles is common in dairy farms... Due to standing on concrete in combination with SARA. This subclinical ruman acidosis also can cause hock injuries: toxines from rumen go in blood stream, make blood vessels leak, and this can cause damage in hocks and soles. But ONLY when hock hit concrete or shave with rough sawdust on rubber mats!!
Prevention of acidosis and (myco) toxins is important. So is 60% roughage in ration!

See more in Feedingsignals book and training! Hope to see you next summer

Take care!

Christian Manser

Hi everybody an thanks for your assistance
I sent this picture to Joep Driessen and we still didn't find a solution. The cows don't get any silage, they are fed with grass and hey and concentrated feed. They lay in a very comfortable deep bedding system with space in front, fresh air and much light. The cows lay down fast and often during the whole day. So I'm still looking for a answer to solve the problem.
What we figured out is, that the problem is more in wintertime as in summer. Now the cows get out for pasture during night or day. So the lesions are getting less.
What do you think about getting injured by the claws. If the side ist quite sharp may this be a reason? What do you think? What did we forget in our reflections and thinkings?
I'm still waiting for a solution for this farmer.
Keep up your good work and still go for happy cows and happy farmers.

Neil Howie

I have seen these lesions in a few farms,
in my experience they are associated with cubicles which are adequate size, in which cows move their legs as they would at pasture or on a straw yard bed in the act of starting to rise. In doing so they drag their upper leg horizontally and backwards for maybe 15-25 cm before starting to lift their rear quarters, and in doing so create friction between the skin of the inner hock and the bed. We noticed these lesions very quickly after the introduction of a new batch of sawdust on one farm,and saw that the bedding material contained many "spicules" of sharp wood. Within days of reverting to a softer sawdust the lesions were on the mend, and there were no new lesions.
On that, and other farms, I have had the same experience since that initial observation.
Ironically, I think you are less likely to see the lesions on farms with cubicles which are too small, as the cows initial movement will be to lift without the drag. That potentially "strains" the hock more, creating swelling, which in turn ,we associate with abrasions on the outer hock skin.

Jan Hulsen

I go along with Neil Howie. We had two times a student looking into the possible causes for these lesions, by careful observations and videoing. I myself also invested quite a bit of time in observing cows in this aspect. This never brought hard evidence of a cause, but it clearly brought focus: the cause is friction between the leg and the udder. That part of the leg never touches any part of the bed or partitions, nor the hooves or dewclaws.
Like Neil Howie says: some times a skin fold is formed. It also happens when the cow makes a sharp turn, for instance when she is leaving a freestall.
Some of the lesions are linear, following the fold.
I just have never looked at the movement Neil is describing up to now, but I am surely going to do this! Thanks!!
The abrasiveness of bedding has most certainly a big influence on this type of lesions, both the one discussed now as the one on the top of the hock (inside). Vetvice, GD, DAP Dokkum and a student (Gerbrich Jousma) have more or less proven this in a observational field study some 10 years ago.
I can not understand physical conditions like ruminal acidosis, mycotoxicosis, etc causing this type of lesions. They perhaps can accelerate the process.

Joep Driessen

Jan Hulsen wrote:
I go along with Neil Howie. We had two times a student looking into the possible causes for these lesions, by careful observations and videoing. I myself also invested quite a bit of time in observing cows in this aspect. This never brought hard evidence of a cause, but it clearly brought focus: the cause is friction between the leg and the udder. That part of the leg never touches any part of the bed or partitions, nor the hooves or dewclaws.
Like Neil Howie says: some times a skin fold is formed. It also happens when the cow makes a sharp turn, for instance when she is leaving a freestall.
Some of the lesions are linear, following the fold.
I just have never looked at the movement Neil is describing up to now, but I am surely going to do this! Thanks!!
The abrasiveness of bedding has most certainly a big influence on this type of lesions, both the one discussed now as the one on the top of the hock (inside). Vetvice, GD, DAP Dokkum and a student (Gerbrich Jousma) have more or less proven this in a observational field study some 10 years ago.
I can not understand physical conditions like ruminal acidosis, mycotoxicosis, etc causing this type of lesions. They perhaps can accelerate the process.

Thank you Jan

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