A scanning electron microscopic study of the vascular system of the bovine hind limb claw

A scanning electron microscopic study of the vascular system of the bovine hind limb claw
Peer reviewed


The vascular organisation of the hind limb claws of clinically normal cattle was studied using scanning electron micrographs of plastic corrosion casts. The microvasculature of the dermal papillae and lamellae was demonstrated. A consistent vascular pattern was observed in the dermal papillae of the periople, coronary margin, sole and bulb. Ultrastructurally, the papillar vasculature consisted of a central artery and vein surrounded by a fine network of interconnected capillaries and venules. Arteriovenous anastomoses, connecting the central artery and vein, and peripherally situated arteriovenous loops were recognised in the terminal papillae of the white zone only. Arteriovenous anastomoses, focal enlargements and distension of the capillary bed were located within the interior half of the dermal lamellae. Numerous arteriovenous anastomoses were present throughout the entire dermis of the claw and were situated predominantly at the base of the dermal papillae and lamellae. The anastomoses and focal capillary enlargements may influence the blood flow in normal conditions and may play a significant role in the pathophysiology of bovine laminitis and sole ulceration.

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