Foot injuries are one of the most important health problems in dairy herds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of genetic and environmental factors on the occurrence of foot injuries (FI) in Costa Rica’s dairy cattle. A total of 130 844 cows (417 895 lactations) from 358 herds users of the VAMPP (Veterinary Automated Management and Production control Programme) software were analyzed between 1990 and 2015. The frequency of FI reports was 16.7% and 7.0% per cow and lactation, respectively. The most frequent FI were white line separation (34.3%), laminitis (13.0%), and sole ulcer (12.8%). FI was analyzed by a logistic regression, which determined significant effects of the following factors: zone, herd within zone, calving number, racial type, period and calving month, lactation stage, herd size, and the cow random effect. Cows with the highest propensity to suffer FI events came from the humid premontane forest zone (OR=1.76), were in the fourth calving (OR=1.29), Holstein breed (OR=1.77), calved between 1995 and 1999 (OR=1.73), April (OR=1.20), were in the second month of lactation (OR=22.2), and came from herds with at least 100 cows (OR=1.22). The heritability for FI, estimated by linear and threshold models, were 0.02±0.002 and 0.05±0.004, respectively; and the repeatability estimates were 0.03±0.001 and 0.05, respectively. Cows with FI presented 16.1 additional days open. There is a high impact of this disease in the evaluated dairy herds.

Keywords: risk factor, animal health, logistic regression, heritability.