Frustrated - lame cow

Help Support CattleToday:


Well-known member
Jan 17, 2009
Reaction score
New Zealand
So this cow of mine...


About three weeks ago I saw her lifting her front right foot when standing, limping a little. So I had a look. It turned out to be a small abscess (possibly a thorn penetration) on the inside of her heel and the heel was a little under-run. So I trimmed it out and let her go... dried her off a few days later if I remember rightly, and put her in the dry cow herd.

A week ago I see her hobbling along favouring her back left leg. So next time the herd is at the dairy shed I cut her out again, had a look at that foot.
And found nothing. In case she'd magically transported the pain from front-right to back left, I lifted the foot I'd looked at previously and found a job well done - no pain, no under-run sole.
So maybe she got injured because she was a new cow in the herd (though I didn't see any fighting) and it's leg not foot? In that case, should get better with rest.

But a week later, she's still favouring that leg - no worse, no better. Had another look at the foot, certain I must have missed something. And... there's nothing. No swelling, no heat, no broken skin between the claws, poked it all over and not a flinch or indication of pain, nothing visible on the cleaned sole. Nothing I can detect wrong with her leg either.

So I guess I either pay for a vet to come and examine her and see if his eyes are better than mine, or leave her and hope she gets better.
Last cow I saw like this was diagnosed with arthritis. This one's only four.
This is her front right foot before trimming.
Looks obvious? In fact, her behaviour told me what the problem was - I know where to look and I still can't see it on the pre-trimmed foot.

Pick the foot up again. Scrape the sole off so all you can see is fresh hoof. If there are any black spots, dig them out until the spot disappears. This can be just a pin point area. Many abscesses can be found this way. If you find nothing look for bruises and rap on the sole as stone brusies can make them plenty sore and can be too deep to see.
Thanks redcowsrule but... I've already picked her BL foot up twice now and investigated it thoroughly. I would have said one of those pinpoint entrances to an abscess was most likely, if it was in the foot at all. We do have a lot of thorns, and that's probably what caused the problem on the FR foot.
The sole is soft and she's not one of those that you can scrape at for too long without causing lameness. So if I lift the foot up again it'll probably be with a second pair of eyes - out of about five or six vets at the local clinic one is totally brilliant with lame feet. Just a matter of expense and getting the right guy on farm :)

If I thought for an instant that it might be footrot she'd be full of antibiotics and marked with spray paint by now... the stuff is cheap, sometimes it works when logic insists mere trimming or removal of an embedded stone should fix the problem. But if there's any infection here it's beyond my detection. It's footrot I was mainly looking for yesterday.
It's nearly daylight, so I guess I'll be taking time to watch her walk again before deciding whether to involve a vet.
So she's been given an anti-inflammatory and prescribed rest.
The good news is the vet doesn't think whatever it is is going to get any worse - she should come right given time.

I had him pd two cycling cows while he was here, and they're both confirmed open and already booked on a truck out.

Latest posts