What would you do with this foot?

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Katpau
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What would you do with this foot?

Postby Katpau » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:23 am

Last winter was the wettest I've seen in the 25 years we have been on this place. I think I had more foot problems last winter than all of those other years combined. All but one cleared up within a few weeks without intervention. The worst was this cow and she kept getting worse until I caught her up and held her under cover. I hated to do much more than keep her on solid ground and dry because she was heavy bred. Of course she was the last to calve and I did eventually get her in the headgate, tie up her foot, gave antibiotics, and attempted to clean out a big abscess. We did that a few times before she calved. The last time we did that, I noticed she was passing an immense amount of jelly, so I figured she would calve that day. She did not appear to be in active labor, so I went off to do other chores. She is 14 and I did not think she needed help. I should have checked. When I came back, she was passing the afterbirth, but no calf. Went in and found a calf coming head first with both legs back. It was dead of course, but we had a 6 week old bottle calf that was a twin who had been rejected by her Mom. We brought it over and she took it without hesitation.

The abscess cleared up, but the damage was severe. As you can see in the photo, the hoof seems to be peeling away below the crack which was where the abscess blew out. The outside toe sticks up in the air and kind of curls over the inside toe. When we first put the calf on her, she was lightly using the foot, but after she escaped and spent a week out on the hills with the other cows, she ended up three legged hopping lame. I now have her in a very small pasture where I am feeding her well. My plan was to butcher her on site once the calf was weaned, since I did not think I could haul her. She has improved to where she is now walking pretty good and I might be able to transport her to the sale barn with the other culls in September.

What would you do with this foot? Should I trim some of that toe away, and if so, how? I don't want to make things worse, but the toe kind of flops when she walks, so maybe it is better to trim it. She seems to be walking entirely on the inside toe.

You will need to click on the photos to see them better. Sorry about the lighting, but I could not get her to stand still with her foot in the sun for long. The flies were bad and just getting a still shot of the foot was difficult. The first shot, which is in the sun, really accentuates the line where the crack was. It was originally a small crack about an inch long that was horizontal to the ground, but now looks like it was on the ground. Her outside toe has completely transformed into the curly weird thing you see in the photo. I think maybe much of that toe is going to peel off.

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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby Son of Butch » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:29 am

I'm not an experienced hoof trimmer... but I think they would take a hoof knife to level the sole and then trim
the curled tip to open the toe a bit, soak with koppertox and perhaps glue and wrap a wooden block to the sole to
temporarily transfer her weight.

Hopefully someone knowledgeable in hoof trimming will give you a better answer on what you could do.
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby TCRanch » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:34 pm

We have a chronic, very similar to yours except it's her left hind foot. Vet thinks it's in the bone and we've worked her & treated with Draxxin & Sustain numerous times. We generally trim the curled part of the toe and hoof that is peeling then file the bottom. The only reason we kept her this year is because she was heavy bred and has always raised nice calves. She's in a smaller pasture where it's not as rocky and easier for her to get around. Unfortunately when she calved last month she immediately stepped on her calf's head. Sale Barn opens back up in a couple weeks and she's taking a ride.
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby M-5 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:56 pm

I have an older cow that had one toe that was long when I got her. Every time I would say its time to cull her she would go to limping. this past winter she got rundown with a big calf and limping worse because the long toe broke off so I just said I'm not gonna give her away and I fully expected her to die any moment. Fast forward 4 months no more limp her condition has dramatically improved. I wonder if the foot hurt so bad that she just didn't eat like the rest even tho I would see her grazing and at the hay piles. I think her salvage value has improved and I will plan on moving her out now. Unless me talking about it makes her start limping today.
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby TCRanch » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:15 pm

M-5 wrote:I have an older cow that had one toe that was long when I got her. Every time I would say its time to cull her she would go to limping. this past winter she got rundown with a big calf and limping worse because the long toe broke off so I just said I'm not gonna give her away and I fully expected her to die any moment. Fast forward 4 months no more limp her condition has dramatically improved. I wonder if the foot hurt so bad that she just didn't eat like the rest even tho I would see her grazing and at the hay piles. I think her salvage value has improved and I will plan on moving her out now. Unless me talking about it makes her start limping today.

Limping or not, Steamroller has worn out her welcome. And she comes by her name honestly, clocking in at 2300 lbs (well, when she was heavy bred) so salvage should be okay. Amazing how she can move when she wants to - without a noticeable limp. Good luck with your girl!
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby wbvs58 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:35 pm

From the photos it looks like she has pretty normal hoof growing down, you might find with time the long bit peels of leaving a reasonable hoof.

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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby Katpau » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:04 pm

Son of Butch wrote:I'm not an experienced hoof trimmer... but I think they would take a hoof knife to level the sole and then trim
the curled tip to open the toe a bit, soak with koppertox and perhaps glue and wrap a wooden block to the sole to
temporarily transfer her weight.

Hopefully someone knowledgeable in hoof trimming will give you a better answer on what you could do.

Thanks for the advice. I have never trimmed a cows hoof, so I'm not real sure what is safe to cut off. I am comfortable trimming a horse, but they don't have claws. Normally I just cull any cows who look like they might develop a problem like scissors toe. The picture doesn't show it real good, but the toe seems to only touch in the rear, with the rest of it up in the air and twisting over the other claw when she puts weight on it. I am thinking I will try to get her in and tie up the foot and try to trim away the most turned in part.
Where do you put the wooden block? On the good claw? Right now it looks like she is almost entirely walking on that side already.
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby Katpau » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:09 pm

wbvs58 wrote:From the photos it looks like she has pretty normal hoof growing down, you might find with time the long bit peels of leaving a reasonable hoof.

Ken
I hope you are right. I last treated the abscess on April 5th (the day she calved). The swelling went down after that, but the hoof seemed to die below the crack. I hope to ship her when we wean in September. It probably won't have time to grow out and peel away. I am not sure if I can help the process with a trim, or if that might make things worse.
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby Son of Butch » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:18 pm

There are dozens of hoof trimming videos online... I just picked the first one I found.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK1vxp0eYp4
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby Katpau » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:20 pm

Thanks, I actually watched a few this afternoon.
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby wbvs58 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:01 am

An angle grinder would work well, I would use one of those course grit flapper wheels to help shape the hoof. I have an el cheapo cordless grinder and works well. You can do it on a regular basis to progressively reshape things so not making too drastic change at once and not too stressfull.

Ken
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby Supa Dexta » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:23 am

She's going to be culled in 60 days, I wouldn't waste the time on her.
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby Son of Butch » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:06 am

I don't like grinders for trimming cows feet. Too easy to burn the foot. I've seen plenty of dairy cows just getting
a routine clean up, shape up, walk away with 'ouchy' feet, walking away worse than they walked in.
It's noticeable in dairy cows when a poor hoof trimmer with a grinder comes in and does the herd. Milk production
drops for 3-6 days. A few hoof trimmers are good with a grinder, but they are in the minority.
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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby gizmom » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:49 am

If she seems to be improving I would leave her alone let her get the calf raised then ship her. Trimming might just make it worse.

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Re: What would you do with this foot?

Postby Katpau » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:22 pm

Gizmom
That is what I am afraid of, but I wanted others opinions. I am thinking of clipping just the end of the toe, since it has curled up over the top of the inner claw. I wondered if nipping it off might allow the toe to drop. Then again, if I do that, it might drop to the ground and give more pain. My main hope is to get her to the sale barn in condition sound enough to be acceptable. I am feeding her and putting on weight since I may have to butcher on site. I don't need more hamburger right now and hate to offer it to others as they may think an old cow is representative of the quality of my average product.
Supa Dexta
I am inclined to agree with your statement of "Don't waste time on her" and yet I wondered if others thought a little trimming could make her life more comfortable. She has been a really good producer, birthing 12 calves, and with a weaning ratio of almost 109%. I owe it to her to be sure she is as comfortable as possible. The registered calf she is raising has already been sold and I am making sure they both have life as easy as possible under unfortunate circumstances. I am not allowing her to run with the other cows and bulls in the hills because of risk of injury. Perhaps I should have let her go on the day we pulled the dead calf, but she saved me from months of work and expense dealing with a bottle calf and that calf looks WAY better than had I kept feeding it or weaned early. She was 6 weeks when I put her on the cow, and I was planning to wean when the bag of Replacer was gone. She would have most likely been a stunted weanling and I doubt my buyer would have accepted her.
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