As we understand more about digital dermatitis and other problems in the hoof, we are becoming increasingly aware about the advantages of foot bathing our cows. Similarly, we are noticing that little and often is better than the usual ‘every now and again’.
A farmer who has a permanent footbath fitted on the exit of their parlour or in a race on the way to a feeding area is more likely to see a decrease in Digital Dermatitis (DD) and lameness than someone who uses a footbath ‘every now and again’. The problem with ‘every now and again’ is that we naturally want to knock up the chemical dosage and give the Digi a good ‘hit’. Although this may temporarily set back the infection it does not control it in the long term.
A small dosage of chemical often will continuously help to control the DD whilst preventing it in those cows who are healthy and aren’t having problems. This is why many farmers chose to have a permanent fitted footbath in a location in which the majority of cows will be walking through between one and three times a day. Most cattle mobility experts recognise the value of regular foot bathing on the dairy farm; preferably on a daily basis or each time the cows are moved to or from the milking area.