Reducing lameness

The prevention, early detection and treatment of lameness improves animal welfare by minimising suffering and distress in cows. The Australian dairy industry is working to minimise the animal welfare impacts of lameness through encouraging the adoption of practices for the prevention, early detection and effective treatment of lameness on farm.


Dairy Australia has been working with farmers to establish lameness strategies on farm in order to minimise lameness.

Recent survey results report that almost all dairy farmers have implemented a lameness strategy on farm to prevent, identify and treat cases of lameness.

When lameness does occur, dairy farmers follow industry recommendations and inspect the affected hoof in an attempt to identify and address the cause of the problem.

Working on welfare

To continue to provide farmers with the latest information and recommended practices to minimise lameness the dairy industry has:

  • Worked with local veterinarians to deliver lameness workshops and resources for farmers on the prevention, identification and treatment of lamenes.
  • Published guidelines through the industry CowTime program on the design of laneways, yards and the milk shed to prevent lameness.

More information

Managing in Wet Conditions - Lameness (PDF, 1.4MB)

Extremely wet conditions are associated with higher rates of lameness in dairy cows. Know the common types of lamesness and read about management strategies to help deal with the problem.

Building blocks for good laneways (PDF, 617KB)

Now’s a great time to review your annual maintenance plan which might include some plans for laneway construction or renovation or repair work around the farm. This document will help you with some practical tips. 

Equipment for treating lameness (PDF, 599KB)

The best advice is to purchase the best equipment you can afford rather than to select equipment on price alone. Well made equipment will last longer. The same goes for tools. Buy the best available and look after them as if they were your tools-of-trade; which they are. Clean and oil metal parts before storing them away from damp. Sharpen hoof knives. Read about restraining the cow, safety and essential and optional tools.

Quote: Preventing lameness, the vet's perspective

Neil Leighton, vet Smithton, NW Tasmania

“The lameness kit provides vets with a ‘workshop on a platter’. It contains the workshop materials and resources for farmers to help assess lame cows, identify the different causes and therefore treat accordingly. A major focus is on preventing lameness in the first place using simple management practices.”

Neil Leighton, vet Smithton, NW Tasmania