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LAMINITIS (INCLUDING SOLE ULCERS, WHITE LINE DEFECTS, DOUBLE SOLES) DESCRIPTION The claws are often warm, animal stands and walks uncomfortably, and will often lie down. Arched back and slow movement are also common. In later stages, the claws grow flatter and show 'growth rings' on the hoof walls, which indicate a laminitis attack.

CAUSES Laminitis is caused by bacterial toxins released in the laminae during dietary disturbances, ill health or other types of stress. Mostly imbalanced rations, milk fever, mastitis, metritis or environmental stress cause oedema and reduced blood flow in the claw; therefore poor horn production. Sole ulcers, white line defects and double soles are often a result of laminitis and/or heel erosion, whereby excessive pressure is put on mostly the hind outer claws.

PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT Ensure that the rations are well-balanced, forages are of premium quality and avoid excessive quantities of concentrates. Special caution should be taken around calving and peak lactation. Dry cows and heifers should also receive proper care as you'll need them in the future! In cases of laminitis, it is important to restore the claw to its normal form and balance between the two digits by trimming all four feet. Combat the possible factor(s) that contributed to the problems.  Avoid excessive weight to reduce calving problems and extra weight on the claws. Minimize waiting times for milking. Preventive balancing of the claws (2-3 times trimming per year). Your nutritionist should be contacted to ensure proper balancing of the rations. Your veterinarian should be consulted at regular times for proper health management and treatment. Allow time for exercise off the concrete to stimulate blood flow in laminae. Reduce excessive waiting and standing for all animals. Ensure enough stalls for proper rest and avoid overcrowding. Make sure water quality and supply are good and there is no stray voltage.