Footbathing is an essential part of digital dermatitis control but it is often not carried out effectively. Its role is not only to prevent new infections but also the recurrence of dormant lesions. Any break in footbathing can allow DD a chance to flare up again , however it is often the first task to fall by the wayside under time pressure.
The Hoofcount Excel bath takes all of the hassle out of footbathing due to the automatic emptying and refilling system, whilst the extra-long design of the bath is crucial to ensure that each foot receives sufficient numbers of ‘dunks’ in the solution. With footbathing such a key component of DD control, the Hoofcount Excel provides a reliable and effective option.
Lameness expert Sara Pederson who initially inspired one of our customers to introduce a strategic plan says: “Digital dermatitis is the biggest cause of lameness on dairy units. It’s caused by a highly infectious group of bacteria – the Treponemes. Adopting a fire fighting approach and just treating the lame cows won’t bring the issue under control. Adopting the Blitz approach which includes identifying digital dermatitis by washing off cows’ feet, then treating and footbathing through an automatic footbath, is the solution.”
The four-point Blitz approach to controlling digital dermatitis
· Identify all cows with an active or recurring digital dermatitis lesion
· Simultaneously treat all cows with an active or recurring lesion with a licensed topical antibiotic until a thick black scab develops on the lesion
· Prevent lesions by reactivating footbathing at a frequency dependent on infection pressure, and manage slurry in cattle sheds to reduce challenge
· Monitor, every four weeks wash feet off and inspect lesions. If new cases occur or recur, then review the footbathing protocol
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Jim Parkinson, Preston (180 cows)
Tom Dodgson, Skipton (420 cows)
Dan Webster (Oakley Farming) Shrewsbury
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