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Project FEET: Recognising and treating pain in lame dairy cows

The VetPartners Production Animal Clinical Board (PACB) are delighted to launch Project FEET! Project FEET stands for Furthering the Evidence-base on cow mobility by Engaging the whole Team.

This information sheet is for famers, foot trimmers, veterinary technicians and veterinary surgeons in the UK to provide information on a survey, which you have been invited to complete about lame dairy cows.

What is the study about?

VetPartners Production Animal Clinical Board and its Mobility Special Interest Group are conducting a study with farmers, foot trimmers, veterinary technicians and vets to find out how painful they think certain conditions are in dairy cows and how they treat them.

Why lameness?

Lameness in dairy cows is a common problem encountered on farm and is a significant cause of poor health and welfare. The prevalence of lameness is thought to be around 30% in the National UK dairy herd and on some farms, it is much higher than this. Previous studies have shown that people involved with lame cattle perceive it to be painful and we want to explore this further with the whole mobility team.

Why the whole team?

To make a difference on farm we need everyone involved in managing lame dairy cows to be involved. Lameness is a complex problem and it requires a team solution. To date, much of the research around pain and lameness has involved vets. We want to extend this to farmers, foot trimmers and veterinary technicians. We call this group the ‘Mobility Healthcare Team.’

What does the study involve?

We need farmers, foot trimmers, veterinary technicians and vets to complete a short (approx 10 mins) questionnaire and tell us a bit about themselves, what they think of certain conditions and how they manage lame cows. There is a separate, slightly different link for each group within the team, so please make sure you complete the correct questionnaire.

The questionnaire links are here:

Farmers: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ProjectFEETFarmer

Foot Trimmers: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ProjectFEETTrim

Veterinary Technicians: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ProjectFEETTech

Veterinary Surgeons: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ProjectFEETVet

What are we trying to find out?

We want to find out what:

  1. How do the different members of the farm mobility team rate the pain of various mobility conditions in lame dairy cows?
  2. When and how do vets and farmers use painkillers/anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) in lame dairy cows?
  3. Do the different members of the farm mobility team think and act differently?

Has this study been ethically approved?

The study has received approval by the RCVS ethics review panel on 10/12/2020 (https://www.rcvs.org.uk/who-we-are/committees/standards-committee/ethics-review-panel/ ).

Who is doing this study?

The VetPartners Production Animal Clinical Board, Mobility Special Interest Group are conducting the study. We are a group of farm vets, foot trimmers and vet techs, all of whom have a particular interest in mobility and all work within the farm animal practices of VetPartners. VetPartners is a large corporate group of veterinary practices that employs the largest number of farm vets in Europe and service approximately 35% of the ruminants in the UK. This mobility group has developed and piloted this study.

CEVA Animal Health Ltd has provided a small amount of funding to support this study but were not involved in the planning, delivery or analysis of this project.

How do I consent to giving data to this project?

By completing one of the questionnaires, you are giving us consent to use your responses. The surveys are anonymous. It is not possible to withdraw your responses once they have been submitted.

What will happen to the responses from the questionnaires?

All the data provided in the questionnaires will be stored securely in password protected files by the VetPartners Clinical Board. The data will be used only for the purposes of this project: understanding how we currently assess and treat lame dairy cows. Data will only ever be reported in a collated, anonymised fashion and no individual responses will be identifiable. All data provided about lame dairy cows and their treatment will be permanently deleted within five years of collation (or before if published).

The responses to our questionnaires are anonymous unless you choose to disclose personal information. At the end of the survey if you wish your name to be put in a prize draw you will be directed to another page to provide this information (name and contact email address). Any personal information you provide will be kept separately from your responses and will be permanently deleted within six months (or before if the project is closed sooner) of you supplying the information.

How do I withdraw from the study?

You can stop the questionnaire whilst you are completing it at any time. As the data provided is anonymous, once you have submitted your responses, we have no way of identifying them and removing them from the analysis.

What about the prize draw?

At the end of the survey, if you wish to be entered a prize draw to win £100 Love to Shop vouchers you will be directed to another survey. You will be asked to leave your contact details there. This ensures your responses to the main survey remain anonymous.

How do I find out the results of the study?

You can find out the results of the study in a number of ways:

Contacts

For further information, or if you have any concerns or complaints about this process, please contact Dr Rachel Dean BMS PhD DSAM(fel) MSc(EBHC) SFHEA MRCVS, co-chair of the VetPartners Clinical Board: Clinical.Board@vetpartners.co.uk

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