Symposium review: multiple-trait single-step genomic evaluation for hoof health Academic Article uri icon


  • Hoof lesions represent an important issue in modern dairy herds, with reported prevalence in different countries ranging from 40 to 70%. This high prevalence of hoof lesions has both economic and social consequences, resulting in increased labor expenses and decreasing animal production, longevity, reproduction, health, and welfare. Therefore, a key goal of dairy herds is to reduce the incidence of hoof lesions, which can be achieved both by improving management practices and through genetic selection. The Canadian dairy industry has recently released a hoof health sub-index. This national genetic evaluation program for hoof health was achieved by creating a centralized data collection system that routinely transfers data recorded by hoof trimmers into a coherent and sustainable national database. The 8 most prevalent lesions (digital dermatitis, interdigital dermatitis, interdigital hyperplasia, heel horn erosion, sole hemorrhage, sole ulcer, toe ulcer, and white line lesion) in Canada are analyzed with a multiple-trait model using a single-step genomic BLUP method. Estimated genomic breeding values for each lesion are combined into a sub-index according to their economic value and prevalence. In addition, data recorded within this system were used to create an interactive management report for dairy producers by Canadian DHI, including the prevalence of lesions on farm, their trends over time, and benchmarks with provincial and national averages.

publication date

  • 2020