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How To Treat Digital DermatitisDigital Dermatitis (DD), also known as Hairy Foot Warts, Strawberry Foot Rot, Mortellaro’s Disease and
Rasperry Heel, has become the most prevalent infectious hoof disorder on many Canadian dairy farms.
Dr. Paul Greenough, in his new book ‘Bovine Laminitis and Lameness’ (see sidebar on next page) recom-
mends the following treatment for animals infected with DD.
Larger and deeper lesions should be covered
Each of the four feet must be examined, and each for reasons of protection but also to prevent lesion, particularly if papil omatous, scrubbed spreading of bacteria. A reusable device such using soapy water and a very stiff brush. The as a ‘Bootie’ (Mountain Meadows, Providence, lesion should be dried. Applying an agent to Utah 84332, USA) can be extremely useful. A a filthy or debris-encrusted lesion will have no small sanitary napkin has been found to be effect at al . Applying an agent to a wet lesion will useful in keeping medication in place beneath dilute the effectiveness of the medication.
The topical dressing must be protected by
The fol owing agents when mixed with water
a pad of gauze held in place by an adhesive (de-ionized) to form a paste have been found bandage. Waterproof bandages are problematic effective:because most of them will create anaerobic • 10 g of oxytetracycline powderconditions which are ideal for the bacteria to • Terramycin-343® soluble powdergrow. It is recommended that less severe lesions • Lincomix® soluble powdershould be left open after cleaning. Topical • Oxytetracycline spray (Cyclo spray vet, treatment with tetracycline spray on two or three
One treatment may be effective for relatively mild infections, but repeated applications may be cal ed for in more extensive lesions. External treatment has not been shown to produce antibiotic levels in the milk.
Treatment of individuals if more
than 10% of the herd have lesionsAll advanced lesions must be given topical treatment as described above. However, the heels of the remainder of the herd should be washed with a low-pressure hose until the details of any lesion that may be present can be clearly seen. Topical treatment should be applied using a 500 ml spray bottle or a garden-type spray.
Under free-stall conditions, the treatments
can be carried out with the animals fastened in automatic headlocks. This treatment should be continued for 3 weeks, using either antibiotic or non-antibiotic preparations. Oxytetracycline has proved significantly more effective than the last
The typical DD lesion is said to resemble a
two chemicals in this list:
strawberry. It is slightly rough, red, circular and
• Oxytetracycline solution (100mg/ml)
surrounded by a halo of white cells which clearly
separates the diseased tissue from healthy skin.
• A solution of 25 mg/ml of oxytetracycline and
the main reason for veterinary surgeons not
recommending this technique as frequently as
• Hoof Pro Plus, an acidified copper sulfate (SSI they used to is that many farmers mismanage
Corporation, Julesburg, Colorado) [Editor’s the procedure. That is to say, the baths are not note: Acidified CuSO is also available from cleansed with sufficient frequency. There is also Nutritech Solutions, Abbotsford, BC]
concern that disposai of the solutions into the
• Acidified sodium chlorite solution (prototype environment will cause pol ution.
Common antibiotic footbath solutions (per 200
A 10% solution of formalin may also be used • 125 g of lincomycin (Lincospectin 100, Upjohn)alternately with an antibiotic, but extreme care • 6-8 g/l of oxytetracyclinemust be taken to avoid spraying this chemical on • erythromycin (690 mg/l).
the udder or other areas of healthy skin. [Editor’s The use of copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, or formalin note: Do not use formalin or antibiotics in the in foot baths has given inconclusive results when milking parlour. Formalin can cause permanent used alone. However, these foot baths may have eye damage and inhalation of formaldehyde a beneficial effect if used between antibiotic fumes can cause lung damage. Antibiotics can treatments. The medications would reduce the get into milk.]
prevalence of interdigital dermatitis and thus,
perhaps, decrease the susceptibility for digital dermatitis.
Foot baths have been used extensively to treat
Antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics such
and/or control DD. The use of this technique has as oxytetracycline is starting to be reported; tended to decline in North America in favour of therefore, the type of antibiotic used should be topical treatment. Foot baths are difficult to use changed every 6 months.
and some medications such as formalin are less source: Paul R. Greenough, Bovine Laminitis and effective as the temperature drops. However,
Lameness: A hands-on approach, Elsevier 2007.
Bovine Laminitis and LamenessDr. Paul Greenough, Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Surgery at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, literally ‘wrote the book’ on hoof disorders in cattle. He co-authored ‘Lameness in Cattle’ which for the past 3 decades has been the standard veterinary textbook on the subject throughout the world.
Dr. Greenough’s latest work takes that basic
veterinary science and applies it to the practical identification, prevention and treatment of claw disorders. This book describes the anatomy of hoof and claw and the causes of lameness, including the importance of genetics, structural conformation of the leg and hoof, nutrition, management, cow comfort and facilities that minimize injuries. The text is extensively il ustrated with colour photographs.
Encourage your herd veterinarian and hooftrimmer
to buy a copy. The book is available on chapters.ca as well as amazon.ca and amazon.com.
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