“Blocking feet is a key to getting lame cows back into the herd and keeping them producing and cycling,” advises Neil Chesterton, veterinarian and NZ’s own hoof care expert. “Over the full season I block approximately 60% of the white-line cases and 70% of the sole injuries I have treated.
While Chesterton strongly recommends the use of blocking for all hoof injuries, the perceived short-term cost is the main limitation for most farmers. Ideally, Chesterton would like to see farmers use a block for even mild injuries to get the animal immediately back into the herd.
“It is not only the perceived cost,” explains Chesterton. “But also the extra time needed to apply a block that causes both vets and farmers to simply separate less severe cases, graze them close to the cowshed and see how they go.”
The introduction of an early-intervention treatment system which can be used quickly and easily by the farmer, is already receiving great interest around the world. Walkease hoof blocks have been designed as a temporary support to aide the natural recovery of the hoof before serious lameness occurs.
“It is with these less severe cases that I have found the Walkease block so useful,” explains Chesterton. “They are relatively cheap, but also consistently quick to apply. It takes only about 3.5 minutes after treating the injured claw to prepare the healthy claw for the Walkease, stick it on and let her go!”
The Walkease hoof blocks are made from ethylene vinyl acetate, otherwise known as EVA. This provides shock absorbency which takes the strain away from the cow’s joints and muscles.
Peter Griffiths, product development manager at Shoof International Ltd and inventor of this innovative hoof care system explains, “If you have a cow going lame then you can put the Walkease on early and the chances are the hoof will heal by itself.”
“We wanted a block that would be easy for farmers to fit themselves, as early as possible before needing professional help,” says Griffiths. “With Walkease you simply flatten the hoof to get a clean and dry surface, using the special rasp provided in the kit, and then apply the block using the special Walkease one-step glue.”
Prevention and early-intervention of cattle lameness is of vital importance for famers and their animals. Having a low cost, easy-to-use hoof care product, that can be used at the first sign of a sore hoof (pre-lameness), is certainly good news for farmers and good news for their cows.