Testing white line strength in the dairy cow
Collis, V.J., Blowey, R.W., Packington, A.J. , Bonser, R.H.C. and Green, L.E. (2004) Testing white line strength in the dairy cow. Journal of Dairy Science, 87 (9). pp. 2874-2880. ISSN 0022-0302
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Official URL: http://jds.fass.org/cgi/content/full/87/9/2874
The tensile strength of 576 pieces of white line horn collected over 6 mo from 14 dairy cows restricted to parity 1 or 2 was tested. None of the cows had ever been lame. Seven cows were randomly assigned to receive 20 mg/d biotin supplementation, and 7 were not supplemented. Hoof horn samples were taken from zones 2 and 3 (the more proximal and distal sites of the abaxial white line) of the medial and lateral claws of both hind feet on d 1 and on 5 further occasions over 6 mo. The samples were analyzed at 100% water saturation. Hoof slivers were notched to ensure that tensile strength was measured specifically across the white line region. The tensile stress at failure was measured in MPa and was adjusted for the cross-sectional area of the notch site. Data were analyzed in a multilevel model, which accounted for the repeated measures within cows. All other variables were entered as fixed effects. In the final model, there was considerable variation in strength over time. Tensile strength was significantly higher in medial compared with lateral claws, and zone 2 was significantly stronger than zone 3. Where the white line was visibly damaged the tensile strength was low. Biotin supplementation did not affect the tensile strength of the white line. Results of this study indicate that damage to the white line impairs its tensile strength and that in horn with no visible abnormality the white line is weaker in the lateral hind claw than the medial and in zone 3 compared with zone 2. The biomechanical strength was lowest at zone 3 of the lateral hind claw, which is the most common site of white line disease lameness in cattle.