Back to latest-news Improve cure rates for lame cows with pain relief

Improve cure rates for lame cows with pain relief

22 September 2020

If we stand on a nail or stub our toe badly what’s the first thing we reach for? Normally pain relief like paracetamol or ibuprofen. When a cow is lame however we don’t always jump to the same treatment. Make no mistake, cows are not “tough”, they feel pain just as you or I do. In fact, if you’ve ever seen a cow shake when a fly lands on her, you will understand how sensitive they really are. The difference is that cows are prey animals so their instinct is to try to hide pain - the lion will always target the lame prey - they are easier to catch!

The word lame means “to walk with difficulty” – it is a sign that there has been damage to the corium- the growing layer underneath the sole or hoof wall that contains the nerve endings. You can bet it hurts, and we may go some of the way to help by trimming the hoof and applying a hoof block to the other claw, but it’s time to go that extra step and use pain relief such as KetoMax or Melovem.

A recent UK study1 showed a drastic improvement in cure rates when pain relief was added on top of the standard lameness treatments. In the study lame cows were given 1 of 4 different treatment regimes, they were then assessed to identify their “cure” by locomotion scoring 35 days after the initial treatment.

The following cure rates were observed: (refer table below)

Corrective trim only – 25%

Corrective trim + hoof block – 36%

Corrective trim + 3 days of pain relief – 29%

Corrective trim + hoof block + 3 days of pain relief – 56%

Lameness Treatments and Cure Rates:

Group Corrective trim Hoof block 3 days pain relief Lameness cure rate
1 yes     25%
2 yesyes   36%
3 yes   yes 29%
4 yesyesyes 56%


This study showed that the most successful treatment was a corrective trim + hoof block + 3 days of pain relief such as KetoMax15%. This will also get her feeling better and grazing quicker, which will help to minimise any drop in productivity and body condition. Lameness is one of the most painful and prevalent conditions in dairy cows, so make sure you have KetoMax15% available at the cow shed, and reach for it when treating lame cows just as we would at home.

To find out more about KetoMax15% - click here
Or talk to your local vet.

1Thomas, HJ et al,2015 Evaluation of treatments for claw horn lesions in dairy cows in a randomized controlled trial Journal of Dairy Science  

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