When you own a dairy herd, maintaining its hoof health is a constant challenge. However, we have some great news for you: there are ways to control and contain the impact of lameness. To begin with, you have a variety of great products at your disposal to tackle this challenge. Then there is the professional ABC chart of dairy hoof diseases, which three hoof care professionals have put together.

Let’s start with one very important thing you need to always keep in mind: Not all lame cows need the same therapeutic approach! That’s right. Sometimes just a simple hoof knife does the trick!

If you want guaranteed success in your battle with lameness, it’s important to know the differences between hoof problems. We can split them into two main categories:

  • Infectious hoof diseases.
  • Non-infectious hoof diseases.

Obviously, hoof problems can be classified as being ‘mild’ or ‘severe’.

The ABC chart of dairy hoof diseases

To raise awareness and highlight the importance of hoof management, Karl Burgi, Dr. Nigel Cook and Dr. Dörte Döpfer have compiled an identification chart of the different hoof diseases. This trio of hoof experts have given us the ABC chart of dairy hoof diseases.

What’s unique about the ABC chart?

  • All hoof problems are coded with a letter and their official name.
  • A color picture illustrates each hoof problem, complete with different severity levels for each of them.

Download and print a copy of the ABC chart of dairy hoof diseases. And here’s a great tip: pin it beside your hoof trimming chute. It’s an excellent reference tool for your employees and a great starting point for discussions with your trimmer!

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Finally, what can you do with the chart?

  • Diagnose a hoof problem and treat it accordingly.
  • Have a copy beside your trimming chute for quick reference.
  • Use it as a communication tool for all team members.

In conclusion, we give you our verdict: highly recommended!

Meet the ABC chart creators

Karl Burgi

Karl Burgi


Karl operates various businesses related to hoof care in the dairy industry. His personal passion and mission is to “Save Cows“. Hoof care training is also available at the Dairyland Hoof Care Institute.

Learn more about Karl Burgi on his website.

Dr. Nigel Cook

Dr. Nigel Cook

Department of Medical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Cook has spent over a decade examining the impact of the environment on the well-being of dairy cattle. Current research interests include evaluating the performance of the Wisconsin dairy industry using cluster analysis and examination of causal networks.

Connect with Dr. Nigel Cook on the website of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Dörte Döpfer

Dr. Dörte Döpfer

Department of Medical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Her specific research interest is the epidemiology of digital dermatitis in cattle. She is currently working on mathematical models for infectious diseases.

Dr. Dörte Döpfer can be contacted on the website of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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