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U.W. Bangor - School of Informatics - Mathematics Preprints 1996

Biological and medical statistics


Volume assessment of the bovine hoof


The size of bovine hooves is one factor that may affect their ability to absorb shock. An increase in size could therefore reduce the risk of lameness associated with excessive digit loading. The hooves of 30 mature cattle we assessed by linear measurements with the objective of predicting digit volume, which was measured separately by water displacement. Claw volume was predicted accurately by regression equations including the top hoof width, toe length and heel angle. Replacing toe length and heel angle with the age and weight of the animal also gave an acceptable prediction and would be more appropriate for on-farm measurement. A reasonable prediction could be obtained from the top hoof width alone. Front hooves were larger and had greater heel depth than hind hooves. In 26 of the cattle either the right fore and left rear hooves, or the left fore and right rear hooves, were larger than the other two hooves, indicating that cross limb laterality (symmetry in diagonally opposed limbs) may be present to a greater degree than has been previously recognised in quadrupeds.

Published in:

Res. in Vet. Sc. 61 (1996) 125-128.

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