UT veterinarians give Oscar the bull a special pedicure

Special foot care by University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 10:05 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Oscar the bull received special foot care from University of Tennessee veterinarians.

“Hoof material of a cow is like our fingernail. It is constantly growing,” said Dr. Joe Smith, who specializes in working with large animals at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

So Smith and his team are not surprised that East Tennessee farmers bring in cattle with overgrown hooves like the ones slowing down Oscar. The registered Hereford is around five years old and the feet on this otherwise vibrant herd bull have been slowing him down lately.

Oscar arrived on the UT Ag Campus to be received by a team ready to wash his feet, examine him, give him a mild sedative and pamper him back to foot wellness.

“We just did a physical exam to make sure he’s healthy enough to go up on the tilt table,” explained Dr. Smith after a veterinarian had checked Oscar’s heart and lungs. The table is created to lift all of Oscar’s nearly one ton of weight and place him at an angle that is safe for him while allowing easy access to his feet.

“Routine assessment of the hoof and hoof trimming can prevent that abnormal shape from occurring and kind of prevent those other disease conditions of the foot from occurring later,” said Dr. Smith.

Tools for this team look a little different than at a typical nail salon. Large clippers and files, plus an electrical grinder are what it takes to smooth and polish Oscar’s hooves. This corrects the imbalance he may have had from overgrown hooves. “Being able to walk on the entire sole of his foot will probably have him feeling a little bit better.”

The bovine pedicure is complete with the applications of dabs of purple polish. This is not cosmetic, but a purple substance designed to harden the hoof as Oscar heads back to the farm.

The UT College of Veterinary Medicine is well-known for being able to do procedures like the one for Oscar, with facilities above and beyond a typical animal clinic.

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