How to treat a cow's hoof and how to identify a disease

How to treat a cow's hoof? What are the symptoms of such diseases and what are their causes? Such questions often arise among farmers, especially with little experience in breeding cattle. A veterinarian or livestock specialist can give a detailed answer, but everyone who holds a cow is aware of the basic rules of care, signs of pathologies and treatment principles.

Cow hoof disease

Pathologies and their causes

A cow spends almost its entire life on its feet. A large mass constantly presses on the hooves. With improper care, they are damaged, an infection gets into the skin and the stratum corneum, inflammation occurs. The hoof consists of two halves with a blade in the middle. It is covered with horn tissue that grows throughout life. In summer, the horn grinds on its own. In winter, this process slows down, because the hoof requires trimming.

Why can leg diseases occur in calves and cows? Previously, people believed that such a nuisance is a corruption or conspiracy. Now, of course, no one will attribute the trouble to evil spirits or evil people. There are several causes of the pathology:

  • Weakening of the immune system.
  • Improper maintenance, dirt in the stable, hard bedding.
  • Ignoring regular inspection and poor care.
  • Incorrect feeding.
  • Walking cattle on stones and solid roads over long distances ..

The calves are especially sensitive to various infections and damaging factors, because in young animals they examine their legs no less than 2-3 times a week. Carefully adhere to hygiene in the stable, regulate the load during grazing, try not to drive the calves on hard roads. In winter, animals should not freeze. An ordinary stick is useful for cleaning hooves, and you need to trim them with a special knife. Regular treatment will help to avoid illness, and treatment will not be needed.

Here are the main pathologies of the hooves:

  • phlegmon whisk;
  • aseptic pododermatitis;
  • purulent pododermatitis;
  • erosion;
  • strawberry disease;
  • wounds and injuries;
  • lameness.

The correct treatment of hoof diseases in cows and the prevention of pathologies allows maintaining milk production at the proper level. If you do not follow the limbs of animals, you can lose not only productivity, but also a whole herd, because when an adult or a calf completely stops their legs, animals often have to be sent for slaughter.

Phlegmon Corolla

Corolla phlegmon is an inflammatory purulent process in the fiber, which is located under the skin. It occurs after damage and the entry of microbes into the wound, especially against a background of weakened immunity. The main symptoms are:

  • Cattle are limping.
  • There is severe pain.
  • There are visible signs of a tumor in front.
  • The temperature rises.
  • Appetite is reduced.
  • The depressed state of the animal is manifested.
  • There is a low milk yield.

A sick cow needs complete rest and a daily change of bedding. Antibiotics are administered intramuscularly, urotropin and calcium chloride are dripped intravenously. Alcohol compresses are placed on the foot, Vishnevsky ointment, ichthyol ointment is applied, the antibiotic is treated or chipped off the sore spot. To relieve soreness, the affected area is pricked with novocaine. If an abscess forms in place of phlegmon, it is necessary to open it.


Cow hoof disease called pododermatitis is an inflammation of the skin base. They are purulent or aseptic.

Aseptic subdermatitis

Aseptic pododermatitis can occur in serous or serous-fibrous form, be acute and chronic. The main causes of pathology are bruises, squeezing, walking on roads with stones, keeping on a hard bedding or hard floor. Symptoms of the disease:

  • A cow stands with legs wide apart or crossed.
  • The stratum corneum is yellow or purple, covered with spots.
  • The temperature rises in a sore spot.
  • Palpation causes pain.
  • In the acute form, it can be seen that the tissues are swollen, in chronic, the horny tissue is overdried, brittle, can be foliated.

Sick cattle are kept on a clean litter. First apply cold, and then warm compresses. The wound is treated with iodoform, rivanol or furatsilinom. With severe pain, when the leg is swollen, they are chipped with novocaine. You can make a salt bath, and then treat the hoof with an antiseptic. To prevent the disease from recurring, the conditions of cattle are changed, heifers are grazed exclusively on grassy pastures with soft soil.

Purulent pododermatitis

Purulent subdermatitis can occur as an independent disease or aseptic complication. Often, the pathology is associated with infection in the wound. Often purulent pododermatitis sick calves. Key features:

  • An increase in temperature, both local and general.
  • Lameness.
  • Palpation tenderness.
  • Cracks and wounds.
  • Swelling and redness of the corolla.
  • Fistulas and discharge of pus.

When purulent pododermatitis is detected, the calf is washed well with warm water and soap, and the affected area is treated with an antiseptic. Often there is a need to remove the stratum corneum within healthy tissues. After that, the site of the operation is carefully treated with an antiseptic, an antibiotic, and a clean bandage is applied. An antibiotic is also administered intramuscularly.

Foot erosion

Erosion occurs with the uneven development of 2 parts of the hoof. An uneven load is created, which is why one half of the stratum corneum erases more. The disease is complicated by inflammation and suppuration, often occurs at a young age. If the calf falls to its feet, is limping, unstable, dragging the front or back limb, it is necessary to examine the hooves. It happens that with erosion, one leg becomes higher and the other lower.

Diagnosing erosion is fairly easy. You can immediately notice that one part of the hoof is longer than the other. With an advanced disease, the stratum corneum becomes inflamed and suppurates. In order to cure the pathology, a special heel is applied to the healthy part, which reduces the load and promotes further more uniform growth of the hoof. It is imperative to regularly clean the cow’s legs, graze it in meadows with soft soil, and change bedding several times a week.

Strawberry disease

The causes of this disease have not yet been elucidated. Most veterinarians associate it with improper care and maintenance. The base of the hoof and the skin around the corolla are affected. The name "strawberry" is due to the fact that red tubercles and a tumor appear on the skin and corolla, in appearance resembling strawberries. The main symptoms of this cow hoof disease are:

  • lameness;
  • swelling of the affected area;
  • characteristic skin changes.

There is no specific treatment for the disease. A vaccine was invented, but it was ineffective. The problem is often solved by itself, if you change the conditions of detention, regularly change the litter, feed the cattle with a quality and balanced feed. It is important to keep the hooves clean, you can periodically treat the sore spot with an antiseptic.

Injuries and injuries

Injuries and bruises are common problems that arise with cows' hooves. An animal can damage its legs in a pasture, against sharp branches, twigs, in fights between themselves (this is primarily characteristic of a bull or a growing calf). If the hoof is wounded, it swells, bleeds, and lameness appears. In this case, you need to immediately treat the wound with an antiseptic, bandage so that suppuration does not occur. Until the cow recovers, she must be kept in a stall on a clean litter.

A bruise may occur if the cattle fell, hit a hard surface. With bruises, visible tissue damage is not noticeable. Hematoma, edema may occur under the skin, movements will be limited. With bruises, a cold compress is needed, complete rest. If muscles, tendons or ligaments are damaged, the cow has dislocated leg, a tight bandage should be applied. To relieve pain, a bruised place is punctured with novocaine. With fractures (open or closed), the leg is immobilized.

Lameness and joint pathology

Cattle lameness may occur due to long confinement without adequate movement. With this disease of cow hooves, the horn grows, this prevents the animal from moving normally. If you do not help, the tissues become inflamed and may suppurate.

It is unlikely to succeed in trimming the hoof yourself, it is better to consult a specialist. The cow is placed in a special installation, the limb is fixed. An excess layer of the horn is cut off with a mechanical or electric knife, having previously cleaned it. At the end, the cut site is treated with an antiseptic.

Cow hoof diseases can be combined with joint pathology. Arthritis develops with poor livestock, in damp conditions, after injuries. Old animals often suffer from the disease. Joints can become inflamed after injuries. Arthritis is serous and purulent. The main symptoms of pathology:

  • The joint swells, its shape changes, the legs swell.
  • The joint is hot, with a purulent form, a fever appears.
  • The heifer can neither stand nor lie (when the legs have completely failed, the animal is kept in limbo).
  • Behavior becomes apathetic, appetite decreases, milk yield decreases.

The treatment of joint lesions is rather difficult and lengthy. The animals are given regular massage, they warm the diseased limb with an ultraviolet lamp. Compresses with anti-inflammatory drugs, ointments, local blockade with painkillers help. Best if treated by a skilled veterinarian. With purulent arthritis, they often resort to surgery, they perform joint puncture.

Arthritis is contagious, caused, for example, by brucellosis. This is an infection that can cause miscarriages, prolapse of the uterus. In this situation, you should immediately contact the veterinary service. If the calves are deficient in vitamin E, they may experience white-muscle arthritis with severe muscular dystrophy.


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