International Journal of
Livestock Production

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Livest. Prod.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2448
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJLP
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 287

Full Length Research Paper

Major hoof and musculoskeletal disorders of cart pulling mules with special reference to lameness in Bahir Dar town, northwestern Ethiopia

Dagmawit Atalel
  • Dagmawit Atalel
  • College of agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Ambo University, P. O. Box 19, Ambo, Ethiopia.
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Kassaye Aragaw
  • Kassaye Aragaw
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hawassa University, P. O. Box 05, Hawassa, Ethiopia
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Berhanu Mekibib
  • Berhanu Mekibib
  • University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, 2610 Wilrijk, Antwerp, Belgium.
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  •  Received: 12 September 2018
  •  Accepted: 24 October 2018
  •  Published: 31 January 2024


A cross-sectional study was conducted in Bahir Dar town, Northwestern Ethiopia, to quantify the major hoof and musculoskeletal disorders of cart mules and identify their predisposing factors. Both physical examinations of 250 cart mules and a questionnaire survey of 174 volunteer cart owners or drivers were used. The overall prevalence of gait problems was 18.8%, of which 83% were lameness, 6.3% staggering gait, and 10.6% stiffness. There was no statistically significant difference (p>0.05) in the proportions of lameness between age groups, sexes and body conditions. In contrast, epizootic lymphangitis (10.3%), trauma (4.6%), and harness injury (0.57%) were the major complaints of the respondents as the causes of lameness. The prevalence of wounds on the chest and back region was 23.2%. Only 8.6% of the respondents paid attention to the feet of their mules; they washed, picked foreign material from the hooves, and trimmed the hoof wall. Lameness caused by hoof problems was the most frequent gait abnormality encountered in the study area. Therefore, for feasible and prompt intervention of musculoskeletal problems, the provision of proper shoeing and regular checkup and treatment of the foot, joint, and back should be instituted as routine activities. Further training should also be implemented to change the owners’ awareness, particularly their practices.

Key words: Musculoskeletal, lameness, mule, cart pulling, Bahir Dar, Northwestern Ethiopia