Bovine Lameness and Podiatry

Pedal bone fractures

What is it?

Pedal bone fractures occur due to trauma and can be associated with breaks in the hoof capsule.

How to recognize it?

Most hoof cracks are not painful. Evaluate the digit for pedal bone fracture if the animal has severe foot pain but no evidence of white line disease, foot abscess or other significant lesion.

Crossed forelimbs due to bilateral P3 fractures

Radiographs are required for definitive diagnosis.


Fracture may occur due to trauma from the foot being trapped in slatted flooring, side rails or boards. Alternatively, P3 may be damaged due to infection and fractures may be pathological.


The hoof wall will stabilize the fracture if motion is prevented. Elevate the injured digit by placing a block on the opposite digit. The digits can be wired together to minimize motion. If infection is present, debridement and drainage is necessary.

Healing will typically be by fibrous union.


An Update on the Assessment and Management of Pain Associated with Lameness in Cattle VCNA FA 2017; Volume 33, Issue 2, July 2017, Pages 389-411

Pathogenesis and Treatment of Toe Lesions in Cattle Including “Nonhealing” Toe Lesions VCNA FA 2017 Volume 33, Issue 2, July 2017, Pages 301-328


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Large Animal Surgery - Supplemental Notes Copyright © by Erin Malone, DVM, PhD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.