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Nutritional Approaches to Combat Lameness in Ruminants

Lameness remains a significant challenge in the livestock industry worldwide, affecting both animal welfare and farm productivity. It not only affects animal welfare but also correlates with reduced milk yield, feed intake, and reproductive performance. Proper nutrition and management practices are vital for promoting healthy hooves in livestock. This paper reviews the nutritional requirements and management strategies essential for preventing lameness, particularly focusing on dairy cattle. It discusses the importance of amino acids, minerals (such as calcium, copper, zinc, cobalt, and manganese) and vitamins (A, D, E, and biotin) in maintaining hoof health. Additionally, it emphasizes the significance of proper feeding management practices, including offering forage before grain, monitoring dry matter intake, analyzing total mixed ration particle size, and incorporating dietary buffers. By implementing tailored feeding and management strategies, it is possible to mitigate lameness issues and ensure sustainable productivity and fertility in dairy cattle herds.