ZINPRO Corp. recently announced the establishment of the Step-Up Management Program for the beef cattle industry.
Developed by Zinpro, in conjunction with the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University, the program provides a systematic approach to identify and manage beef cattle lameness.
Lameness affects all segments of the beef industry and continues to be an important issue in feedlot cattle. It's an animal welfare concern as well as a health issue, and it is often more prevalent than beef producers recognize.
"The Step-Up Management Program was developed to help elevate beef cattle lameness management throughout the industry," explained Dr. Dan Thomson, director of the Beef Cattle Institute. "We partnered with Zinpro to design this unique program in order to help beef producers, veterinarians and nutritionists improve the well-being of their cattle."
The focus of the program is on education, especially in areas where lameness is not commonly considered to be prevalent. It provides resource materials focused on lameness scoring and lesion identification, as well as lameness prevention, management and treatment protocols.
A cornerstone of the Step-Up program is the introduction of a new four-point locomotion scoring system specifically developed for beef cattle. Locomotion scoring is based on observing cattle while they are walking (gait), with an emphasis on head bob and stride length. The system uses a simple zero to three scale to assess the severity of lameness in beef cattle: zero = normal; one = mild lameness; two = moderate lameness; three = severe lameness.
"We created the new Step-Up locomotion scoring system to make lameness identification a simple process for beef producers," added Dr. Connie Larson, Zinpro ruminant RNS manager for North America. "Zinpro has a long-standing commitment to lameness education. This locomotion scoring system is a continuation of that effort as an important tool to help producers track changes in lameness prevalence within the operation."
Furthermore, Larson said identifying cattle with lameness scores of one and two can lead to better intervention strategies than if the lameness was allowed to progress until it is severe.
Educational posters for beef cattle locomotion scoring and lesion identification are available by request from Zinpro.