In vitro biomechanical properties of sole tissues: Comparison between healthy and ulcerated bovine claws

Marchionatti, E.; Desrochers, A.; Wenzlow, N.; Villemure, I.; Theoret, C.L. (2020). In vitro biomechanical properties of sole tissues: Comparison between healthy and ulcerated bovine claws. Journal of dairy science, 103(7), pp. 6412-6421. American Dairy Science Association 10.3168/jds.2019-17250

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Sole ulcers are reportedly one of the most prevalent diseases associated with lameness in dairy cattle, significantly affecting animal welfare and farm profitability. The degree to which sole soft tissues, healthy or ulcerated, are able to maintain their structure and function when subjected to compressive forces remains unknown. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to assess sole tissue biomechanics in healthy and ulcerated claws and to describe correlated histology. Cylindrical samples were harvested from zones 4 and 6, as described by the international foot map, from hind lateral healthy (n = 12) and ulcerated bovine claws (n = 8; animals n = 12). Tissue biomechanics and morphology were evaluated via compressive tests and hematoxylin-eosin-phloxine-saffron staining, respectively. A 2-sample t-test was used to compare zones' mechanical properties between healthy and ulcerated tissues, and the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test was used to measure the effect of claw zone on histology. The fibril modulus (Ef) and permeability (k) respectively increased and decreased in ulcerated claws (Ef = 0.201 ± 0.104 MPa; k = 0.128 ± 0.069 mm2/MPa·s) compared with healthy claws (Ef = 0.105 ± 0.050 MPa; k = 0.452 ± 0.365 mm2/MPa·s) only for zone 6. Histology scores equal to or greater than 3 were associated with macroscopic presence of ulceration. A higher proportion of adipose tissue (30% or more) was associated with zone 6 compared with zone 4, but no difference was seen between healthy and ulcerated claws. Ulcerated claws had a higher prevalence of exostoses compared with healthy ones (33% vs. 8%). Sole soft tissues showed, as hypothesized, a viscoelastic behavior using unconfined compression testing, which, however, may not reflect in vivo loading conditions. Clinical and histological signs of sole ulceration were not associated with decreased strength of the supportive apparatus of the distal phalanx in zone 4 in this study.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants

UniBE Contributor:

Marchionatti, Emma


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




American Dairy Science Association




Nathalie Viviane Zollinger

Date Deposited:

27 May 2020 10:45

Last Modified:

18 Jun 2020 01:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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