Hoof trimmer: Michael Wallen, Tulare, California
Location: Visalia, California
Case study: White-line abscess
Chute style: Left-tilt layover chute
1. Bring cows into the pen in small groups so that as you sort the animals you can assess their gait and determine which leg is the problem leg.
Before trimming, check your records first before doing too much work. If an animal will be culled soon, it may not be worth trying to fix a hoof problem.
Even before I start trimming, I can see that this bull has a white-line abscess.
2. The initial trim confirms the abscess diagnosis. When trimming a hoof with an abscess, you will see and feel that the hoof is flaky and loose.
3. The upper claw will need a block, but because the lower claw has a white-line abscess, you can work on it first before applying the block to the upper claw. Otherwise, the block at this point would be in the way.
If the abscess was on the top, the block would need to be applied first because the dripping blood would cause a wet surface and the glue would not stick properly.
4. Take all the loose hoof off and expose the abscess. Be careful not to cut into the foot.
This abscess starts in the bottom and moves up through the back of the hoof. There is also a small wart on the back of the hoof that will also need to be wrapped up and medicated with Tetracycline 324 powder.
5. Using a hot iron, dry and warm up the claw that will be blocked. This helps the glue stick better.
6. The block should be lined up with the front of the hoof – extending past the heel. The claw should be trimmed flat, so the block will be perpendicular to the animal’s leg. This will give it good support so it can walk properly as the abscess heals.
7. When the glue is no longer sticky and cool to the touch, the glue is set. If it’s still tacky, use a heat source on the glue again to help it finish setting up.
8. After the glue is set, wrap the hoof so that the bandage is not tight, but firm. Wrapping the hoof too tight can cause additional problems because of restricted blood flow and discomfort from swelling.
If you think it might be too tight, cut a little of the bandage at the top, so that if the hoof starts to swell, the bandage will continue to tear and fall off. The wrap should be removed after two or three days. EL