Treating thin soles in lame cows

Thin soles are a common non-infectious cause of lameness, which requires altering the cow’s environment to manage the condition.

Treating lame cows


  • Red or yellowish areas on the sole
  • Thin soles
  • Soles which flex when pressed
  • Cow walks stiffly
  • More than one foot may be affected
  • Sole bruising – this appears as red areas

Animals commonly affected

Freshly calved heifers which are not acclimatised to concrete/cubicles are often affected by sole bruising. Others include stock bulls and cows that regularly walk a long way on cow tracks.

How to treat it

  1. If only one claw is affected, apply a block to the healthy claw.
  2. Do not remove excessive horn – the soles are often already thin.
  3. Rest the cow.
  4. Keep the cow on a soft surface (pasture or straw yard) until healed.

For extensive grazing herds, switch to once-per-day milking and keep affected cows in a paddock close to the parlour while recovering.

Useful links

Treating lame cows

Lameness in dairy cows

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