Bulk tank milk control programmes


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Strong flexible claws, without Digital Dermatitis (DD) infections, are the basis for proper functioning of locomotion and durability of dairy cows. Whether a cow has healthy hooves is largely determined by the energy, proteins, fatty acids, mineral, trace mineral and vitamin content of the ration, as well as the infection risk and the pressure, load on the claws. In particular, vitamin B, biotin and the trace mineral zinc (Zn) play an important role in claw horn and skin quality. Fortunately, it is possible to gain insight into the provision of biotin, zinc and manganese by monitoring bulk milk samples of the herd. Treponema spp. are in most herds the most common cause of infectious claw disorders (DD). 

Why participate

  • Manage claw health based on relevant information about herd status.
  • Having information about claw horn quality and the presence and stage of DD infection in a herd gives farmers and the advisors insight into the provision of the nutrition ingredients and activity of DD infections in relation to claw health at herd level.

What sampling is involved?

  • Bulk tank milk samples taken 4 times per year for biotin, manganese, zinc and antibody levels to give insight into the claw health status and infection pressure of the bacteria (Treponema) causing the problems.

How you get advised

  • We provide you with insights into whether the provision of biotin, zinc and manganese are optimal for good claw horn and skin quality.
  • The bulk milk test gives insight into the DD antibody level which can be linked to the most common DD infection stages. With this information about the DD infection degree in a herd the farmer and his advisor can choose the most successful treatment strategy, whereby each infection degree requires a separate optimal treatment.
  • This knowledge can have a huge positive impact on claw health and dairy cow performance.

Our expert


Menno Holzhauer, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECBHM

Menno Holzhauer is an international expert in the field of Claw Health at GD Animal Health. He has been graduated as a veterinarian in 1984 and received his PhD in 2006 based on a thesis on the Epidemiological Aspects of Different Claw disorders in Dairy Cattle in the Netherlands, which means more insight into the causes of claw-health disorders in certain situations, for example, permanent housing vs. pasturing. After his graduation he went to private practice, mainly working as a veterinarian in herd health first line activities and advisory. In 1999 he left practice and started working for GD, being responsible for monitoring diseases in dairy cattle in The Netherlands, to get insight into increase or decrease in well-known but in new disorders also, like Dictyocaulosis in adult cattle and Blue Tongue in large and small ruminants. Additionally he performed some research activities in the area of lameness.

In 2005 Menno was approached to become member of the European College of Bovine Health Management and het participated in the following years in the Credential Committee and as Board Secretary in the ECBHM Board.

Fields of expertise and publications


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