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Animals (Basel). 2019 Mar 1;9(3). pii: E78. doi: 10.3390/ani9030078.

Using the Footfall Sound of Dairy Cows for Detecting Claw Lesions.

Author information

1
Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Animal Behavior, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, 30173 Hannover, Germany. nina.volkmann@tiho-hannover.de.
2
Section of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, University of Kassel, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany. bkulig@uni-kassel.de.
3
Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Animal Behavior, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, 30173 Hannover, Germany. nicole.kemper@tiho-hannover.de.

Abstract

An important factor for animal welfare in cattle farming is the detection of lameness. The presented study is part of a project aiming to develop a system that is capable of an automated diagnosis of claw lesions by analyzing the footfall sound. Data were generated from cows walking along a measurement zone where piezoelectric sensors recorded their footfall sounds. Locomotion of the animals was scored and they were graded according to a three-scale scoring system (LS1 = non-lame; LS2 = uneven gait; LS3 = lame). Subsequently, the cows were examined by a hoof trimmer. The walking speed across the test track was significantly higher in cows with LS1 compared to those with LS2 and LS3 and thus, they were showing a smoother gait pattern. The standard deviation of volume (SDV) in the recorded footfall sound signal was considered as a factor for the force of a cow's footsteps. Cows with non-infectious claw lesions showed lower SDV than healthy cows and those with infectious claw diseases. This outcome confirmed the hypothesis that the evaluated cows affected by non-infectious claw lesions have a greater sensitivity to pain and demonstrate a less forceful gait pattern. These first results clearly show the potential of using footfall sound analysis for detecting claw lesions.

KEYWORDS:

acoustic analysis; dairy cattle; footfall sound; lameness detection

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