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Measurements of forelimb claw dimensions in cows using a standardised sole thickness: A post-mortem study


Nuss, Karl; Sauter-Louis, Carola; Sigmund, Bruno (2011). Measurements of forelimb claw dimensions in cows using a standardised sole thickness: A post-mortem study. Veterinary Journal, 190(1):84-89.

Abstract

Measurements of both front feet of slaughtered German Simmental cattle (17 heifers, 13 cows) were carried out to document the normal shape and size of the forelimb claws and to gain information about function and possible predisposition to disease. Only clinically normal feet were examined, and a standardised sole thickness of 5 mm at the tip and 8 mm in the heel region in both claws was established as a reference. The dorsal wall length, dorsal wall angle, heel length, height and width, sole and claw length and claw width, sole circumference and sole area were measured. After removal of the horn capsules, measurements of values at the level of the corium were carried out.

The lateral front claws were wider and the medial claws longer than their partner claws. Overall, the sole surface areas and circumferences of the paired claws were similar, but were statistically larger in the medial claws. The front claws were characterised by long and high heel bulbs, and had a toe length:heel bulb length ratio of approximately 1.6:1. These properties, together with the musculo-tendinous attachment of the limbs to the trunk, are believed to provide better protection for the forelimb claws when standing or walking on hard surfaces. Functional mechanical relief of the medial front claws is probably best achieved by paring the soles of the foot to the same level, which usually entails reduction of the lateral claw. For German Simmental cattle, a dorsal wall length of 75 mm can be used as a guideline when trimming front and hind feet.

Abstract

Measurements of both front feet of slaughtered German Simmental cattle (17 heifers, 13 cows) were carried out to document the normal shape and size of the forelimb claws and to gain information about function and possible predisposition to disease. Only clinically normal feet were examined, and a standardised sole thickness of 5 mm at the tip and 8 mm in the heel region in both claws was established as a reference. The dorsal wall length, dorsal wall angle, heel length, height and width, sole and claw length and claw width, sole circumference and sole area were measured. After removal of the horn capsules, measurements of values at the level of the corium were carried out.

The lateral front claws were wider and the medial claws longer than their partner claws. Overall, the sole surface areas and circumferences of the paired claws were similar, but were statistically larger in the medial claws. The front claws were characterised by long and high heel bulbs, and had a toe length:heel bulb length ratio of approximately 1.6:1. These properties, together with the musculo-tendinous attachment of the limbs to the trunk, are believed to provide better protection for the forelimb claws when standing or walking on hard surfaces. Functional mechanical relief of the medial front claws is probably best achieved by paring the soles of the foot to the same level, which usually entails reduction of the lateral claw. For German Simmental cattle, a dorsal wall length of 75 mm can be used as a guideline when trimming front and hind feet.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:24 Jan 2012 09:39
Last Modified:04 May 2016 16:21
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1090-0233
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.10.002
PubMed ID:21051247

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