Retrospective study of foot conditions in dairy cows in urban and periurban areas of Kenya

Nguhiu-Mwangi J, Wabacha JK, Mbuthia PG, Mbithi PMF. "Retrospective study of foot conditions in dairy cows in urban and periurban areas of Kenya.". 2008.


A retrospective study was carried out to determine categories, patterns and outcomes of foot conditions in dairy cows from smallholder units in and around Nairobi, Kenya. Analysis was done on 625 hospital case records of dairy cows admitted and treated for foot conditions from 1981 to 2006 at the Large Animal Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi. The records were from cows that had been through one or more parities. Data included type of foot lesion, the affected limb and the claw, and the outcome of treatment. Relative percentages of the foot lesions were computed. Foot lesions with the highest percentages of occurrence were interdigital necrobacillosis (36%), interdigital fibroma (12%) and sole abscess (11%). Others with lower percentages included trauma (8%), claw overgrowth (7%), sole necrosis (severely eroded and necrotized horn of the sole) (6%), septic fetlock arthritis (6%) and septic pedal arthritis (5%). Laminitis and related claw lesions, such as double soles and heel erosion had less than 1% occurrence. The hind feet were affected in 75% of the cases, from which 83% of the lesions involved outer claws. The fore feet were involved in 16% of the cases, of which 57% of the lesions affected inner claws. Simultaneous involvement of both fore and hind feet occurred in only 2% of the cases and 6% of the cows had more than one foot lesion. A total of 90% of the cows were healed after treatment, 6% were slaughtered and 4% died. The results of this study indicated that a high percentage of cases of foot conditions referred to the Animal Hospital from smallholder dairy units in and around Nairobi were infective and a lower percentage was laminitic. We recommend that a farm-level prospective study be conducted in the same area to verify this status.

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