During the first round of BovINE one of the research innovations proposed was to use infrared thermography (IR) for diagnosis of lameness . This technique was demonstrated in Germany and Belgium. In the Belgian demo Research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food (ILVO) presented together with the Vlaio project ClawCare the thermal camera on a beef farm.

Pictures from the demonstration; (C) ILVO

The thermal camera used here was a small device to add on a smartphone. Together with an app, the farmer himself can analyse the hooves of the animals. This way the farmer himself can check for hoof problems, like Mortellaro lesions. All information available was done on dairy. For this, it was interesting for both BovINE and ClawCare to demonstrate this on beef cattle. Together with a claw carer they looked at the hooves and analysed thermal images. A video about this demonstration has been done and is available on youtube.

In summary, for the detection of lameness or lesions via IR the farmer needs to invest in a thermal camera and needs a closer look at the hoof, so ideally the animals are fixed. This for example during weighing or hoof trimming. Walking in between the animals is also possible, but not always safe to do. It is difficult to put a number on the benefits by using this innovation. But using a camera like this can help in early detection of hoof problems and may lower veterinary costs.

Link to ClawCare project: www.koesensor.be/klauwgezondheid