Case study: hock lesions as a potential source of Staphylococcus aureus mastitis

Hock injuries are a common injury in dairy cows that are housed indoors for the greater part of the year. Oftentimes, the lesions indicate inadequate stall or cubicle design in dairy barns. The presence and severity of hock lesions are associated with lameness and other disorders of the limb, which is why most welfare evaluations target hock lesion reductions to improve cow welfare. It is thought that hock lesions may also be associated with mastitis and reduced milk yield. In order to better understand the association between hock lesions and the development of Staphylococcus aureus mastitis, an undergraduate student from the University of Vermont (UVM), US headed-up a case study within the student-run herd as a senior thesis project with the help of her advisor Dr. John Barlow and his graduate students. Veterinarian and UVM PhD student Caitlin Jeffrey presented the findings at the National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting, held in February of this year.

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