Poor hoof health can have a significant and direct impact on livestock profitability. If hoof problems are not treated promptly, lameness in stock can occur quickly. This results in economic loss, poor performance and is considered a welfare concern. Any problem affecting the hoof will compromise the ability of the animal to move and graze freely.
During wet weather, hoof issues in small (sheep/goat) and large (beef/dairy) ruminants can increase as the hooves take up excessive moisture through the edge of the hoof wall. This can result in reduced weight-bearing capacity, sore feet and lameness.
Standing in wet paddocks can make hooves more susceptible to bacterial infections as the moist conditions soften the skin. Bruising, cracking and abscesses lead to hoof infections, causing pain, discomfort and lameness.
Lameness negatively affects weight gain, milk/wool production and reproductive performance, as severely affected animals are reluctant to move to feed and water.
Optimising animal health and the early adoption of an appropriate trace mineral supplementation program are highly important in achieving production objectives and minimising the risk presented with continuing wet conditions.
Trace Mineral Supplementation
Zinc is necessary for the normal development and function of the immune system and is an essential component of several important enzymes. A daily intake of Zinc is essential for immunity, male reproduction, skin/hoof health and bone calcification. It is also involved in wound healing and the synthesis and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids.
Zinc has been identified as one of the critical minerals involved in the process of keratinisation. The interruption of the nutrient supply to keratin-forming cells could form inferior keratin tissue, potentially causing hoof disorders and subsequent lameness (Tomlinson et al., 2004).
Chelated Zinc is absorbed and utilised more effectively and efficiently by ruminants compared to alternative inorganic zinc sources (Mir et al., 2020). Bioplex® trace minerals are bound organically to amino acids and a range of peptides. Alltech’s Bioplex® Zinc provides bioavailable Zinc in a form as close to nature as possible. It has been shown in some reports that the concentration of Zinc in the hoof walls of lame animals was significantly lower than normal animals, and supplementing with Bioplex® Zinc had a positive effect on the hoof and improved hoof quality in bulls (Kessler et al., 2003).
Biotin (Vitamin H), is a significant vitamin for keratinisation and hoof integrity. It affects the proliferation and differentiation of the epidermis and it is also essential for normal keratinisation. Biotin is associated with a redution in the incidence of lameness. Feed supplementation with Biotin also improves the macroscopic appearance of the hooves (Lagnova et al., 2020).
Methionine, which contains Sulphur, is essential for promoting the structural and functional integrity of the hoof. It is involved in the formation of a disulphide bond during keratinisation and plays an essential role in the strength and health of ruminant hooves.
Supplamins Hoof and Health contains elevated levels of organic Zinc and Biotin, a balance of essential vitamins and a blend of organic and inorganic minerals required for growth, performance, reproduction and maintenance. Supplamins Hoof and Health is presented as a granulated, weatherproof loose mineral lick and is suitable for both cattle and sheep.
Contact your local Alltech Lienert representative or call 1800 649 231 for more information on how we can help ease your stock’s sore feet!