Association of digital cushion thickness with sole temperature measured with the use of infrared thermography

G. Oikonomou, P. Trojacanec, E. K. Ganda, M. L.S. Bicalho, R. C. Bicalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The main objective of this study was to investigate the association between digital cushion thickness and sole temperature measured by infrared thermography. Data were collected from 216 lactating Holstein cows at 4 to 10. d in milk (DIM). Cows were locomotion scored and sole temperature was measured after claw trimming (a minimum delay of 3. min was allowed for the hoof to cool) using an infrared thermography camera. Temperature was measured at the typical ulcer site of the lateral digit of the left hind foot. Immediately after the thermographic image was obtained, the thickness of the digital cushion was measured by ultrasonography. Rumen fluid samples were collected with a stomach tube and sample pH was measured immediately after collection. Additionally, a blood sample was obtained and used for measurements of serum concentrations of β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), and haptoglobin. To evaluate the associations of digital cushion thickness with sole temperature, a linear regression model was built using the GLIMMIX procedure in SAS software (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Sole temperature was the response variable, and digital cushion thickness quartiles, locomotion score group, rumen fluid pH, rumen fluid sample volume, environmental temperature, age in days, and serum levels of NEFA, BHBA, and haptoglobin were fitted in the model. Only significant variables were retained in the final model. Simple linear regression scatter plots were used to illustrate associations between sole temperature (measured by infrared thermography at the typical ulcer site) and environmental temperature and between NEFA and BHBA serum levels and haptoglobin. One-way ANOVA was used to compare rumen fluid pH for different locomotion score groups and for different digital cushion quartiles. Results from the multivariable linear regression model showed that sole temperature increased as locomotion scores increased and decreased as digital cushion thickness increased. These results were adjusted for environmental temperature, which was significantly associated with sole temperature. Serum levels of NEFA, BHBA, and haptoglobin were not associated with sole temperature. However, significant correlations existed between serum levels of NEFA and haptoglobin and between serum levels of BHBA and haptoglobin. Rumen fluid pH was not associated with either locomotion score or digital cushion thickness. In conclusion, we show here that digital cushion thickness was associated with sole temperature in cows at 4 to 10 DIM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4208-4215
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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