The milk yields of 1824 cows were used to investigate the effect of lesion-specific causes of lameness, based on farmer treatment and diagnosis of lame cows, on milk yield. A three level hierarchical model of repeated test day yields within cows within herds was used to investigate the impact of lesion-specific causes of lameness (sole ulcer, white line disease, digital dermatitis and other causes) on milk yield before and after treatment compared with unaffected cows. Cattle which developed sole ulcer (SU) and white line disease (WLD) were higher yielding cattle before they were diagnosed. Their milk production fell to below that of the mean of unaffected cows before diagnosis and remained low after diagnosis. In cattle which developed digital dermatitis (DD) there was no significant difference in milk yield before treatment and a slightly raised milk yield immediately after treatment. The estimated milk loss attributable to SU and WLD was approximately 570kg and 370kg respectively. These results highlight that specific types of lameness vary by herds and within herds they are associated with higher yielding cattle. Consequently lesion-specific lameness reduction programmes targeting the cow and farm specific causes of lameness might be more effective than generic recommendations. They also highlight the importance of milk loss when estimating the economic impact of SU and WLD on the farms profitability
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