Health traits

Hoof Health Index


Hoof trimmers register all “findings”, or all “no findings” on each hoof of all cows they trim. Using a tablet, it is nowadays an easy system and a part of every hoof trimmer’s work. They register in three different categories, 0 means no disease, 1 means mild disease and 2 means severe disease. The Hoof Health index describes the bull’s daughters’ genetic ability to resist hoof diseases. The Hoof Health index includes 10 hoof disorders grouped into seven sub-traits:

  • Sole ulcer
  • Sole hemorrhage
  • Heel horn erosion
  • Digital dermatitis + interdigital dermatitis
  • Verrucose dermatitis + interdigital hyperplasia
  • Double sole + White line separation
  • Cork screw claw  
The Hoof Health index is a stronger tool to breed for mobile cows than feet and legs conformation. 

Udder Health index


The Udder Health index describes the bull’s daughters’ genetic ability to resist mastitis. The index includes breeding values for udder health in the first three lactations based on records of clinical mastitis made by veterinarians. It also includes somatic cell count (first three lactations) and udder conformation (fore udder attachment and udder depth from the first lactation).

Using data on somatic cell count (SCC) alone is not a good enough predicator for improving mastitis resistance. Correlation of SCC and clinical mastitis ranges from 0.52 to 0.68 depending on lactation and the breed. Therefore, registrations of clinical mastitis are more efficient indicators. Official registrations are done for 90% of cows in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. 

General Health Index


The General Health index describes the bull’s daughters’ genetic potential to resist reproductive, metabolic and feet and leg diseases. Breeding values are calculated based on health records made by veterinarians from the first three lactations.

This trait includes breeding values for:

Early reproductive disorders
- Retained placenta
- Hormonal & infective reproductive disorders 
- Other reproductive disorders 

Late reproductive disorders
- Hormonal & infective reproductive disorders 
- Other reproductive disorders 

Metabolic diseases
- Milk fever
- Other metabolic and feed related disorders 

Ketosis

Feet and leg problems

The General Health index is based on the registrations made by veterinarians and includes more than 80 different diseases.