Foot and claw health

Claw and foot health is an easy way to assess global health and optimal litter quality for farmers. Different types of claw and foot disorders affect different animal species and genetic factors should not be underestimated. In dairy cows, higher culling rates, veterinary costs, and economic losses caused by lower production and discarded milk can all be correlated with impaired foot and claw health. Similar response on culling rates and fertility in sows is recognized and is a serious issue for the durability of sows. In broilers, footpad lesions are an important factor in the evaluation of animal welfare as they potentially cause pain and discomfort. In breeder birds foot health certainly reflects general health and not only in relation to welfare as it is also correlated to the presence of systemic bacterial infections with Gram-positive cocci. Lower mobility may also impact production performance of growing animals due to less access to feed.

Nutrition and feed additives may provide a role in improvement of litter quality and as such impact foot and claw health. Secondly, several nutrients such as minerals and vitamins play a vital role in skin health and wound repair and impact claw and foot health directly.

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