Farmers looking to reduce lameness in cattle are being encouraged to consider trace element and vitamin supplementation to support hoof health.
Appropriate micronutrition, teamed with a suitable trimming strategy, can support the hoof horn and help prevent lameness and its costly consequences, says Tom Butler, group technical manager at Brinicombe.
“Lame cows will have a lower dry matter intake and their milk yield will subsequently be reduced. The problem most commonly occurs when the integrity of the hoof horn deteriorates, allowing disease and bacteria to enter the foot.”
Trace element and vitamin supplementation can play an important part in supporting hoof integrity, says Mr Butler. This helps to reduce the risk of hoof diseases, such as digital dermatitis and sole ulcers.
Biotin and zinc as particularly beneficial. Essential for keratinisation, which is a key process in the healthy composition of the hoof horn, biotin is a vitamin often lacking in cattle diets. Zinc is also seen as important for good hoof health.
Mr Butler says: “Severe nutritional deficiencies in both biotin and zinc can lead to a fragile hoof, more susceptible to cracks and bacterial infections, thus increasing the risk of lameness.”
He recommends routinely incorporating trace element and vitamin supplementation into lameness management strategies.
“Trace element and vitamin boluses high in biotin and zinc, such as EnduraBol Biotin, are a good way to ensure a consistent and long-lasting supply of micronutrients to help support hoof health as well as general cow health and performance.”
Based on scientific research, EnduraBol Biotin has been designed with hoof health in mind. Two boluses deliver approximately 20mg of biotin per day and a sustained release of zinc for up to 120 days.
“During the summer, lameness can be increasingly noticeable as cattle are more likely to be walking further to the parlour, often on sharp, stony tracks, which can cause wear and tear on hooves,” says Mr Butler.