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Foot and leg problems and its association with flooring surfaces in dairy cows.


Adequate housing or shelter management is essential for well being and welfare of any kind of livestock. Out of various components of housing of dairy cows, floor is one of the most important aspect for maintaining hygiene and sanitation of shed as well as to keep livestock comfort and healthy, thereby it affects production and reproduction performances. Floors and flooring surfaces are significant contributors to lameness in dairy cattle (Shearer and Amstel, 2012). Without proper housing it is not possible to exploit genetic potential of an animal. Improper flooring may leads to leg deformity and lameness of cows. The present study was an attempt to observe the effect of type of floor on foot and leg disorder of dairy cows under field condition of Assam state.

Materials and Methods

Study was carried out in 173 farmers' households having milch cows in and around the greater Guwahati of Kamrup district, Assam. A total of 463 dairy cows of crossbred and local cattle was observed personally for various type of foot and leg disorders such as elongation of hooves, abrasions, hygroma of knee and sole ulcers-bruising. The observation recorded were divided into three groups according to type of floor such as birck bedded, concrete and earthen floor on which they were housed. Data thus obtained were expressed as percentage and pair wise test of proportion-Z test was done to compare incidence of disorders in various types of floor.

Results and Discussion

From the present study it was revealed that leg and foot disorders were maximum in brick-bedded floor (67%) in comparison to concrete (64%) and earthen (12.3%) floor. There was highly significant (P < 0.01) difference of incidence of disorders between brick bedded and earthen as well as between concrete and earthen but the difference between brick bedded and concrete was non significant. Incidence of elongation of hooves, abrasions, hygroma of knee and sole ulcers-bruising in brick bedded floor were found to be 20, 41, 2 and 4 percent respectively. Corresponding figures in concrete floor were 12, 44, 4 and 4 percent and in earthen floor 2.5, 4, 2.5 and 3.3 percent respectively (Table 1). There was highly significant (P < 0.01) difference of incidence of elongation of hooves between brick bedded and earthen floor, where as difference between concrete and earthen floor was significant (P < 0.05). On the other hand, incidence of abrasions was highly significantly (P < 0.01) less in earthen floor than that of brick bedded and concrete floor. Saharia et al. (1998) observed higher incidence of elongation of hooves and hygroma in cows housed on pucca floors. Lowest incidence of foot and leg disorders were found in cows housed on earthen floor which may be due to lesser hardness of such floor. Again total incidence of foot and leg disorders was less on concrete floors than that of brick bedded floors indicating that concrete floors were better than that of brick bedded floors. More over due to smoothness of the surface, cleaning and disinfection on concrete floor was easier than that of brick bedded and earthen floor. Thomas and Sastry (2009) suggested that floor of dairy animals should preferably be paved or at least made of bricks-on-edge. A paved floor can be kept cleaner, drier and it lasts longer. The surface of floor should be even and all attempt be made to keep it dry. A sole ulcer is a circumscribed lesion of sole that frequently exposes the underlying corium. The development of ulcers is exacerbated by exposure to hard flooring surfaces and housing conditions that predispose to poor cow comfort (Shearer and Amstel 2012). According to Singh et al. (1998) disorders in foot and leg cause lameness which in turn is associated with reproductive problems.


The incidence of foot and leg disorders was lowest in cows housed on earthen floor shed in comparison to concrete and brick-bedded floor. Of course, concrete floor was better than that of brick bedded floor due to its smoothness. But due to more expense of concrete floor, farmers under field condition may construct their cow shed with earthen floor and made it hard by good ramming using pieces of stones and bricks.


Saharia, J., Saikia, S. and Dutta, G.N. (1998). Effect of flooring type on foot and leg abnormalities in dairy cows. Indian Vet. J. 75: 579-80.

Singh, S., Prabhakar, S. and Ghuman, S.P.S. (1998). Incidence of reproductive disorders in relation to lameness in cows and buffaloes. Indian J. Anim. Reprod. 19:18-20.

Shearer, J.K. and Amstel S. R.V. (2012). Effect of flooring and flooring surfaces on lameness disorders in dairy cattle. surfaces-on-lameness-disorders- in-dairy-cattle.

Thomas, C.K. and Sastry, N.S.R. (2009). Dairy Bovine Housing and Hygiene. In: Dairy Bovine Production, Kalyani Publishers, New Delhi, Chapter-19, Section-VI, p. 447-506.

Jakir Hussain (1), R. Roychoudhury, D.C. Mili, G.C. Das (2) and R.N. Goswami (3)

Department of Livestock Production and Management College of Veterinary Science Assam Agricultural University (AAU) Khanapara Guwahati--781022 (Assam)

(1.) Assistant Professor and Corresponding author. E-mail:

(2.) Professor, Dept. of Animal Genetics and Breeding

(3.) Dean
Table 1: Incidence of foot and leg disorders in dairy cows and
its association with flooring surfaces

Types of floor             Elongation     Abrasion (%)   Hyg roma (%)
                            of hooves

Brick bedded                   20              41              2
Concrete                       12              44              4
Earthen                        2.5             4              2.5

Test of proportion

Brick bedded X Concrete   1.513174 (NS)   0.40136 (NS)    0.675 (NS)
Brick bedded X Earthen     6.336511 **    10.81057 **    0.27441 (NS)
Concrete X Earthen         1.974406 *      5.4919 **     0.481342 (NS)

Types of floor            Sole ulcers/        Total
                          bruising (%)    affected (%)

Brick bedded                    4              67
Concrete                        4              64
Earthen                        3.3            12.3

Test of proportion

Brick bedded X Concrete   0.031818 (NS)   0.395176 (NS)
Brick bedded X Earthen    0.379895 (NS)    13.32131 **
Concrete X Earthen        0.207071 (NS)    6.932007 **
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Research Article
Author:Hussain, Jakir; Roychoudhury, R.; Mili, D.C.; Das, G.C.; Goswami, R.N.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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