Sole ulcer

Attention! This is a potentially life-threatening condition for your Cow. Time is of the essence, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Sole Ulcer

Pododermatitis Circumscripta

Sole ulcer is a significant foot disease seen often in dairy cattle that are living in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. It is associated with prior onset of subclinical laminitis in cattle.


Soft, slight discoloration on hoof sole
Circular lesions on the sole/bulb junction of the hoof
One or both lateral hind claws may be affected
Bleeding and/or redness
Mild to severe lameness
Pain with palpation of lesion
Abnormal posture
Frequent shaking of foot
Shifting weight from limb to limb
Frequently lies down


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Laboratory tests


Removal of sole pressure to affected area: An experienced claw trimmer should be hired to accomplish this. It often involves adding a lift in the form of a wooden or rubber device that can be nailed or glued to healthy parts of the hoof.


Often sole ulcers will never fully resolve and cows persist with chronic, low-grade lameness

Article Reference

Risk Factors

  • Previous history of subclinical laminitis
  • Living in unhygienic conditions
  • Exposure to excessive amounts of moisture or standing in water and mud
  • Prior history of heel erosion
  • Using inexperienced claw trimmers, who remove too much horn from underneath the heel of the hoof.

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