Three experiments were conducted to test the effectiveness of different footbath solutions and regimens in the treatment of digital dermatitis (DD) in dairy cows. During the study, groups of cows walked through allocated footbath solutions after milking on 4 consecutive occasions. All cows were scored weekly for DD lesion stage on the hind feet during milking. A “transition grade” was assigned on the basis of whether the DD lesions improved (1) or deteriorated or did not improve (0) from week to week. This grade per cow was averaged for all cows in the group. In experiment 1, 118 cows were allocated to 1 of 3 footbath treatments for 5 wk: (1) 5% CuSO4 each week, (2) 2% ClO- each week, or (3) no footbath (control). The mean transition grade, and proportion of cows without DD lesions at the end of the trial were significantly higher for treatment 1 above (0.36, 0.13, and 0.11, respectively; standard error of the difference, SED=0.057). In experiment 2, 117 cows were allocated to 1 of 4 footbath treatment regimens for 8 wk: (1) 5% CuSO4 each week, (2) 2% CuSO4 each week, (3) 5% CuSO4 each fortnight, or (4) 2% CuSO4 each fortnight. For welfare reasons, cows allocated to the weekly and fortnightly footbath regimens had an average prevalence of >60% and =25% active DD at the start of the trial, respectively. Significantly more cows had no DD lesions (0.53 vs. 0.36, respectively; SED=0.049), and the mean transition grade of DD lesions was higher in the 5% compared with the 2% weekly CuSO4 treatment (0.52 vs. 0.38, respectively; SED=0.066). Similarly, significantly more cows had no DD lesions in the 5% compared with the 2% fortnightly CuSO4 treatments (0.64 vs. 0.47, respectively; SED=0.049). In experiment 3, 95 cows were allocated to 1 of 3 footbath treatments: (1) each week alternating 5% CuSO4 with 10% salt water, (2) each week alternating 5% CuSO4 with water, or (3) 5% CuSO4 each fortnight (control). After 10 wk, more cows had no DD in the salt water treatment than in the control treatment (0.35 vs. 0.26, respectively; SED=0.038), but levels of active lesions were higher for this treatment than in the other 2 treatments (0.17, 0.00, and 0.13, respectively; SED=0.029). Treatment did not affect mean transition grade of DD lesions. In conclusion, CuSO4 was the only footbath solution that was consistently effective for treatment of DD. In cases when DD prevalence was high, a footbath each week using 5% CuSO4 was the most effective treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Food Science
Speijers, M. H. M., Baird, L. G., Finney, G., McBride, J., Kilpatrick, D. J., Logue, D. N., & O'Connell, N. (2010). Effectiveness of different footbath solutions in the treatment of digital dermatitis in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 93(12), 5782-5791. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2010-3468