This unfortunate lady had been lame for a few weeks and although her foot had been checked and trimmed to try and correct any problems, she hadn’t improved. When her foot was next examined it was found that the horn had sloughed off exposing soft structures underneath.
The decision was therefore made to remove the infected claw after first ensuring that the other claw was healthy and had good confirmation. This is essential as it would now be taking a lot more weight!
In order to remove the claw the cow was firstly given injectable pain relief and antibiotics. Then a tourniquet was applied and local anaesthetic injected into the vein below it.
By using a tourniquet the local anaesthetic remains in the area around the foot (rather than escaping round the body and being diluted) and makes sure the cow can’t feel a thing during the operation. Once we were sure that the anaesthetic has taken effect, a cut was made above the claw which allows us to place a wire at the middle point of one of the little bones in the foot. The claw is then neatly wired off! By removing the claw through the middle of the bone, we prevent a joint surface being exposed which could allow an infection to track up the foot into the leg.
Once the claw was removed, a tight bandage was applied to compress the wound surface and keep it clean. Once the bandage was applied the cow was visibly more mobile and comfortable and marched straight to the feed barrier!
The cow had regular bandage changes over the next few weeks with checks of the wound. She has been healing well and has not been seen struggling with lameness since. Just the outcome we wanted!