Many farms use foot baths and struggle with maintaining it such that each cow has a decent bath and is effective over the long haul. Lameness is a serious issue – cow body condition plays a significant part in arming the cow against lameness – see a scientific publication at www.hoofcount.com below:
Does a Lame Cow go Thin or Does a Thin Cow go Lame?
Recent work carried out by leading hoof specialists including Jon Huxley has shown a correlation between the fat cushion in the hoof and its effect on lameness.
If a cow is lame, she is less likely to battle with the herd to get to the food. Therefore she is usually at the back and last to get to the food and consequently may lose out on the nutrition that the others will have got.
However if a cow is thin and not lame she has less fat on her meaning less fat on the cushion of her hoof. This area of the hoof is important in absorbing pressure when she walks and protecting the bone. It will not work as well in protecting her hooves from infections or bruising which may lead to lameness.
Therefore making sure you take care of thin cows is just as important as looking after the lame ones in preventing and controlling lameness in your herd.
Read the study by Jon Huxley (Head of the School of Veterinary Science and Professor of Dairy Cow Health at Massey University, NZ) View Study
Check out the youtube video on the foot bath: