General description
  • Bone fractures are partial or complete breaks in one or more bones.
  • Fractures include fresh breaks or partially resolved fractures characterised by a healing swelling (called a callus) around the fracture site.
  • Long bone fractures occur mostly following trauma. Cattle are generally unfit to travel so rarely seen at meat inspection.
  • Sporadic fractures can arise from misadventure.
  • A line of cattle with fractures (and bruising), especially in exposed body sites such as the point of the hip, suggests poor handling and/or substandard facilities and yards.
  • Multiple fractures within the animals, such as ribs, and especially if the fractures are of varying age, suggest a bone mineral deficiency (such as phosphorous, copper or selenium).
Clinical signs
  • Cattle with long-bone fractures are severely lame and should be treated (or destroyed) locally.
  • Cattle with mineral deficiencies may have other signs associated with the deficiency such as rough and faded coats (copper deficiency), stiff-legged gait (selenium deficiency), ill-thrift (cobalt deficiency) or red water (phosphorous deficiency) as examples.
  • Fractures are diagnosed at meat inspection. Affected sites are trimmed or the carcase condemned if severely affected.
  • Treatment depends upon diagnosis of the cause of the fractures.
  • As above.
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