A cross sectional study was conducted at Bahir Dar town, northwestern Ethiopia, to quantify the major hoof and musculoskeletal disorders of cart mules and to identify their predisposing factors. Both physical examination of 250 cart mules and questionnaire survey on 174 volunteer cart owners or drivers were used. The overall prevalence of gait problem was 18.8%, of which 83 % was lameness, 6.3% staggering gait and 10.6% stiffness due to tetanus cases. There was no statistically significant difference (p>0.05) in the proportions of lameness between age group, sex and body condition. In contrary, epizootic lymphangitis (10.3%), trauma (4.6%), harness injury (0.57%) were the major complaints of the respondent as the cause of lameness. The prevalence of wound on the chest and back region was 23.2%. Only 8.6% of the respondents gave attention to the foot of their mules; they wash, pick foreign material from the hoof and trim 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, provision of proper shoeing and regular check up and treatment of the foot, joint and the back should be instituted as a routine activity. Further training should also be implemented to change the ownersâ€™ awareness, particularly their practice.
Keywords: Musculoskeletal; lameness; mule; Cart pulling; Bahir Dar; Northwestern Ethiopia