How to Prevent and Control Digital Dermatitis or Hairy Heel Warts in Dairy and Beef Cattle


The effect of lameness on animal welfare
and animal performance is costly and wide-reaching. Whether you’re a
large-scale livestock operator or a family pet owner the site of an animal
in pain is distressing and must be addressed. To shed new light on this
important issue Zinpro Corporation is proud to sponsor Experts Talk – the place
where leading authorities on foot health and lameness prevention share their
expertise. This episode of Experts Talk examines the prevention and control of
digital dermatitis, a common infectious foot disease in cattle. Our expert today
is Dr. Dorte Dopfer. Dr. Dopfer is one of the world’s most recognized experts on
digital dermatitis, which is commonly called Harry Heel Warts. Digital
dermatitis epidemiology was actually my Master’s thesis 20 years ago and the
project just kept going on and on and never really left my dossier and Here I
am still doing digital dermatitis research. We have been looking for
alternative and adjunct treatment forms to prevent and control digital
dermatitis for many many years. Hoof bath fluids that are out there are for
example copper sulfate with all the negative environmental implications of those you
don’t want to be dumping copper sulfate for until the end of times on to alfalfa fields until a alfalfa doesn’t grow anymore. Formaldehyde is used
extensively in some parts of the world that has because of its carcinogenic
qualities has health implications for the workers involved in managing those
hoof baths. It cannot be healthy for cows either I think we should be aware
of that. So any aid, any benefit in adding preventive measures would be very
welcome. Having known the team at Zinpro for
many years because as you know we’ve been in interaction for many years.
One day they claimed this idea why not try a particular formulation and there
it is part of what the Zinpro intellect has it is nothing that we developed, but
why not try this to to create this skin pathogen border in a more resilient form.
Because you had indications from other trials that this might be an option
since digital dermatitis has their skin pathogen water disrupted if we could
prevent that from happening it would be beneficial for the cows claw health. Since the interaction between skin and
bacteria under very unfavorable hygienic conditions as part of this
pathogenesis of digital dermatitis anything that would make that skin
pathogen border more resilient towards infection would be very welcome. We were
about to give up when we thought okay we’re going to mimic what the farmers
really see when they walk their their cattle while they’re in head gates and
this is something that a farmer does on a routine basis or should be doing
the so called pen walks. So while walking behind the feet we scored what
type of lesions terms of acute active lesions and chronic lesions were visible
even through the normal manure feet that you have you know visible during during
those pen walks, and tallied them for 16 weeks with weekly pen walks. And in
pre-breeding heifers actually totals where the youngest animals we ever tried
and we’re surprised that there were actually significant differences in
prevalences of first lesions. First and recurrent lesions between the treatment
and control. This is why we’re here today I guess to document that we have found
this difference and to discuss further what the impact of that finding is. What I would hope to see in terms of a
change might be different from what reality tells us, but I think we are
drawing increasing attention to these pre calving heifers that are currently
really not watched over well when it comes to claw health. So if we could
already focus on them as an investment for their first lactation and make them
come into their first lactation even healthier in terms of claw diseases that
would be beneficial for their productive lives and I believe that where we’re
heading to is drawing more attention typing them, producing proper records
even before they ever calves talking and discussing the possibility of having
properly designed and dimensioned hoof bath that are strictly managed you know
in a stubborn way in a well-designed way. Together with other preventive measures
where for example a feed supplement could play a role and I think we are
moving towards this integrated prevention and control strategy that
comes even as early comes in and starts as early as calving of calf age.
Thank you for watching this episode of Experts Talk. Additional episodes are
available at Zinpro.com. Experts Talk promoting foot health, preventing
lameness.

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