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Maierl, Johann; Böhmisch, R.; Dickomeit, Mark J.; Liebich, Hans-Georg (2002): A method of biomechanical testing the suspensory apparatus of the third phalanx in cattle: A technical note. In: Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia, Vol. 31, No. 6: pp. 321-325
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Abstract

There are a number of differences between the claws of the front and hind limbs in cattle concerning macroscopic shape, chemical and physical properties of claw horn and epidemiological data. Front claws have superior data in almost every respect. Virtually no information is available on the mechanical stability of the suspensory apparatus of the third phalanx. It was the objective of this study to develop a method to measure the maximum strength (N/mm2) of the suspensory apparatus of the bovine distal phalanx. This apparatus includes all layers of tissue such as bone, corium, corioepidermal junction and wall horn. The feet of 13 clinically healthy beef bulls were collected from the local abattoir. Testing was performed in three locations of the wall segment (dorsal, abaxial, axial) in a material testing machine. The corium and the corioepidermal junction were set under increasing tension until failure occurred. Maximum stress was recorded. The values ranged between 2.47–3.13 N/mm2 (dorsal), 4.08–4.87 N/mm2 (abaxial) and 2.27–2.66 N/mm2 (axial). No differences could be validated statistically between front and hind claws and between lateral and medial claws respectively. Abaxial ultimate stress values were significantly higher than dorsal and axial ones. Between the two a statistical difference could not be validated. Most of the specimens (57.1%) were torn apart at the corioepidermal junction, almost a quarter of the samples (27.6%) were to a degree disrupted at the corioepidermal junction and to a certain extent in the deeper layers of the corium. A few samples showed disruption within the horn (11.5%) or at the attachment of the third phalanx (3.8%). Biomechanical features of the experimental set-up are discussed. The biological significance of these findings is that the body weight and the additional dynamic loading is predominantly taken over by the abaxial part of the claw, while the dorsal and axial aspects are less loaded