Here is a list of 10 things I would like my dairy clients to know pertaining to their hoof trimmer and his job: 1. I would like my dairymen to remember the scheduled appointment day on which I am to arrive. Not that I am that important, or that I want the dairyman’s undivided attention, but I dislike being the “surprise of the day,” let alone the all-too-familiar palm to the forehead indicating “Oh, I forgot he was coming.” Not a good way to begin the day.

2. I would like my dairymen to know the difference between infectious and non-infectious claw lesions. Knowing what your cow has determines the treatment and how fast she will heal.

3. I would like my dairymen to know that clean feet mean healthy feet – this is self-explanatory.

4. I would like my dairymen to know cow flow and proper restraint is important. A hoof trimmer’s day can be greatly improved just by a good flow of cows and not chasing Bessie for 45 minutes with the last 10 minutes being corralling her into the chute, which leaves both parties highly charged.

5. I would like my dairymen to know the 90 percent rule of thumb, which is as follows: 90 percent of lameness has its source in the foot; 90 percent of non-infectious lameness is in the claw itself; and 90 percent of that lameness is in the outside or lateral claw. With this information, the dairyman can be more proactive to solve some of his own lameness issues.


6. I would like my dairymen to know the difference between maintenance trimming and the once-a-year whole-herd trim. A maintenance trim is timed according to the rate of hoof growth at one-quarter inch per month and the wear rate of your cow’s hooves in their facility. In most freestall operations, every five months works well, but it varies from farm to farm. However, a once-a-year trim will seldom maintain the hoof in a condition where it needs no further attention, unless it is a grazing dairy.

7. I would like my dairymen to know bandages, aka wraps, are put on to help the healing process. Wraps are meant to stay on three to five days at the most and then be removed by the dairyman. In addition, I want my dairymen to know that wraps will not self-destruct and failure to remove them can create an animal welfare incident, which could be detrimental to the cow and dairyman.

8. I would like my dairymen to know blocks come in wood, rubber or plastic and are an effective aid in the advancement of ulcer and abscess healing and are an excellent pain management tool. In fact, if properly applied, a block will keep your cow in good production while the claw heals.

9. I would like my dairymen to know continuing education is important with regards to new methods of trimming and treatment and knowledge of the anatomy of a cow is important to both the dairyman and the hoof trimmer. I personally count on the Hoof Trimmer’s Association (HTA) to be one of my primary connections to the dairy industry by attending conferences and regional clinics and receiving the HTA quarterly newsletter. I also count on numerous dairy publications and local annual meetings specifically targeted for the dairy industry.

10. I would like my dairymen to know that I am interested in their profitability and that my job, which entails treating and trimming his cows, is two-fold – it is not only for him, but also for the benefit of his cows. Whether treating a lame cow or maintenance trimming, my personal goal is to increase the cow’s lifetime production by keeping her walking well. PD

Dan Leer
Hoof trimmer
Dan Leer Hoof Trimming