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Linda Laven

Doctor of Philosophy, (Veterinary science)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Anatomical studies of claw conformation in New Zealand dairy cattle

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Mrs Laven''sresearch examined the tools available to describe claw conformation in first lactation New Zealand dairy heifers and applied them to monitor claw change with respect to time and claw position in animals managed in a pasture-based system. In addition she developed several new techniques to aid the study of claw conformation which may provide information on the link between claw conformation and the development of claw horn lesions and lameness in dairy cattle. These included validation and subsequent field use of a portable ultrasound machine to monitor mean distance to distal phalanx (as a proxy for sole thickness) in a group situation and the application of a novel method to assess heel conformation in combination with image analysis to track the surface area of the claw in ground contact. Such tools will facilitate future investigation of the impact of walking distance, track and yard substrate and management interventions such as housing on claw conformation. 

Professor Tim Parkinson
Professor Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos
Professor Richard Laven
Dr Jean Margerison