Assessment of bovine hoof conformation and its association with lameness, animal factors and management practices on small-scale dairy farms in Kiambu district, Kenya.
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Digital health and conformation were assessed in 216 dairy cattle on 78 randomly selected small-scale farms. For each cow, gait was assessed and the digits examined in detail. Hoof measurements (angle and length of the dorsal hoof wall, heel depth and hoof-base area) were also made. Hoof measurements varied most between individual cattle. Dorsal angle was correlated with heel depth (r = 0.53; P = 0.001) and dorsal length (r = -0.40; P = 0.001). The hoof-base area was correlated with the dorsal length (r = 0.41; P = 0.001). There were significant breed differences in dorsal angle (P = 0.03) and dorsal length (P < 0.01). The dorsal angle was correlated with parity and body condition, while the dorsal length, heel depth and the hoof-base area were correlated with the heart girth (P < 0.01). Hoof conformation was associated with both clinical lameness and hoof lesions. A 1-cm increase in the dorsal length increased the odds of lameness by 16.9, heel erosion by 1.8, underrunning by 5.4 and overgrowth by 40 (P < 0.01).