Lameness is a painful condition with significant welfare and economic implications. There are few data about the high-risk periods of lameness in dairy goats, therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate how lameness occurrence changes across the first two years of life. Eighty female goats of approximately five months of age were enrolled. Gait-scoring assessments were completed at 9, 13, 17, 21 and 25 months of age. Gait scores were assigned using a 5-point gait scoring system. As there were a low number of 3, 4 or 5 gait scores recorded, a binary outcome variable was created to compare non-lame (score 1) to an impaired gait (score ≥ 2). A logistic regression (PROC GLIMMIX) was used to test if there was a difference in the proportion of goats with an impaired gait among assessments. When compared with the nine-month assessment, the odds of a goat having an impaired gait were greater by a factor of 2.15 (95% CI: 1.02 – 4.54, P<0.05) at the 13-month assessment and 3.79 (95% CI: 1.90 – 7.57, P<0.001) at the 25-month assessment; as these assessments were both following kidding events, this suggests that parturition may increase the risk of lameness in dairy goats. Keywords: gait score; uneven gait; impaired gait; parturition; welfare

L, Deeming, NJ Beausoleil, KJ Stafford, J Webster, and G Zobel

New Zealand Journal of Animal Science and Production, Volume 81, Online, 35-38, 2021
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