Objective— To determine in cattle with septic arthritis of the distal interphalangeal joint (SADIJ) the efficacy of resection of the distal interphalangeal joint (JRES) as a digit salvage technique compared with digital amputation (DAMP).
Study Design— Prospective, randomized clinical study.
Animals— German Holstein–Friesian dairy cattle with SADIJ of 1 hind limb (n=52).
Methods— SADIJ diagnosis was based on clinical examination and radiography. Cows were randomly assigned with owner consent to DAMP (n=26) or JRES (n=26). After JRES, a wooden block was fixed to the partner claw in combination with a tipping claw prophylaxis.
Results— After surgery, degree of lameness improved significantly faster after DAMP than after JRES. New claw diseases in the opposite limb occurred more frequently after JRES (n=6) than after DAMP (n=1). New claw defects developed in the partner claw on the operated limb in 6 cows after DAMP compared with 1 after JRES. Tipping claw was observed in 50% of JRES cows at day 180. Mean life span between groups was not significantly different (DAMP=13.5 months, JRES=10.9 months).
Conclusion— Higher surgical and postsurgical expenditures for JRES were not counterbalanced by a longer productive life; however, frequent disease of the partner claw of cows after DAMP should be considered a critical point, as this generally leads to culling.
Clinical Relevance— The higher expenditure for JRES can be justified only for young, valuable cattle.