Associating cow characteristics with mobility scores in pasture-based dairy cows

A.H. O'Connor*, E.A.M. Bokkers, I.J.M. de Boer, H. Hogeveen, R. Sayers, N. Byrne, E. Ruelle, L. Shalloo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The quality of dairy cow mobility can have significant welfare, economic, and environmental consequences that have yet to be extensively quantified for pasture-based systems. The objective of this study was to characterize mobility quality by examining associations between specific mobility scores, claw disorders (both the type and severity), body condition score (BCS), and cow parity. Data were collected for 6,927 cows from 52 pasture-based dairy herds, including mobility score (0 = optimal mobility; 1, 2, or 3 = increasing severities of suboptimal mobility), claw disorder type and severity, BCS, and cow parity. Multinomial logistic regression was used for analysis. The outcome variable was mobility score, and the predictor variables were BCS, type and severity of claw disorders, and cow parity. Three models were run, each with 1 reference category (mobility score 0, 1, or 2). Each model also included claw disorders (overgrown claw, sole hemorrhage, white line disease, sole ulcer, and digital dermatitis), BCS, and cow parity as predictor variables. The presence of most types of claw disorders had odds ratios >1, indicating an increased likelihood of a cow having suboptimal mobility. Low BCS (BCS <3.00) was associated with an increased risk of a cow having suboptimal mobility, and relatively higher parity was also associated with an increased risk of suboptimal mobility. These results confirm an association between claw disorders, BCS, cow parity, and dairy cow mobility score. Therefore, mobility score should be routinely practiced to identify cows with slight deviations from the optimal mobility pattern and to take preventive measures to keep the problem from worsening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8332-8342
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
Early online date10 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • body condition
  • claw disorder
  • grass-based system
  • lameness
  • parity


Dive into the research topics of 'Associating cow characteristics with mobility scores in pasture-based dairy cows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this