Assessing the repeatability and reproducibility of the Leg Score: a Dutch Claw Health Scoring System for dairy cattle

M. Holzhauer, H. Middelesch, C.J. Bartels, K. Frankena, J. Verhoeff, E.N. Noordhuizen-Stassen, J.P.T.M. Noordhuizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The optimal moment for trimming the claws of all dairy cows in a herd was investigated by assessing the external rotation of the hind claws of individual cows relative to the spinal column. This leg score consisted of three independent descriptors: 1 (good/ normal), 2 (moderately deviant), and 3 (severely deviant). This study assessed the repeatability and the reproducibility of the leg score system, and the consistency of the advice given subsequently about trimming of the hind claws of all cows in the herd. Repeatability was assessed for 52 cows that were scored twice on the same day by 11 observers; the kappa value ranged from 0.17 to 0.66 (mean: 0.36). The probability of the same result for both assessments ranged from 0.49 to 0.80 (mean: 0.61). Claw trimming was advised if at least 20% of the cows had a leg score of 3. On the basis of the scores, 3 observers consistently advised trimming of the hind claws of all the cows in the herd, and 6 observers consistently advised against the need for trimming in the short term; 2 observers had an inconsistent advice. The reproducibility of the scoring system was assessed in two dairy herds (62 and 50 cows). Eight observers evaluated the leg score of the cows of both herds on the same day. The mean kappa value of the leg score for all pairs of different observers (A-B, A-C etcetera) was 0.24 [-0.08-0.49]. In conclusion, the leg score is not a reliable method for determining the optimal moment for claw trimming in dairy cattle. The reasons for the inconsistent observations require further investigation
The optimal moment for trimming the claws of all dairy cows in a herd was investigated by assessing the external rotation of the hind claws of individual cows relative to the spinal column. This leg score consisted of three independent descriptors: 1 (good/normal), 2 (moderately deviant), and 3 (severely deviant). This study assessed the repeatability and the reproducibility of the leg score system, and the consistency of the advice given subsequently about trimming of the hind claws of all cows in the herd. Repeatability was assessed for 52 cows that were scored twice on the same day by 11 observers; the kappa value ranged from 0.17 to 0.66 (mean: 0.36). The probability of the same result for both assessments ranged from 0.49 to 0.80 (mean: 0.61). Claw trimming was advised if at least 20 % of the cows had a leg score of 3. On the basis of the scores, 3 observers consistently advised trimming of the hind claws of all the cows in the herd, and 6 observers consistently advised against the need for trimming in the short term; 2 observers had an inconsistent advice. The reproducibility of the scoring system was assessed in two dairy herds (62 and 50 cows). Eight observers evaluated the leg score of the cows of both herds on the same day. The mean kappa value of the leg score for all pairs of different observers (A-B, A-C etcetera) was 0.24 [-0.08-0.49]. In conclusion, the leg score is not a reliable method for determining the optimal moment for claw trimming in dairy cattle. The reasons for the inconsistent observations require further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-443
JournalTijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde
Volume130
Issue number14-15
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • dairy farming
  • claws
  • hooves
  • clipping
  • repeatability
  • timing
  • care of animals
  • observation
  • reproductive-performance
  • floor systems
  • lameness
  • cows
  • associations
  • disorders
  • disease
  • lesions
  • traits
  • herds

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