We all know that routine checks and hoof trimming can help to prevent lameness on your dairy. We recently sat down with Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson, our hoof care experts with a combined total of 65+ years of hoof trimming experience, to ask them some important questions on hoof trimming and timing.
Footbaths are an essential part of your hoof care routine to prevent lameness and disease. It is important to use footbaths for the prevention AND treatment of hoof problems. Far too often, we see dairymen initiate a footbath routine only after an outbreak has occurred.
A lame cow is an economic liability on a dairy farm. On a 500-cow dairy with a lameness incidence rate of 20% and a per-cow cost of $90, lameness can cost a dairy operation $9,000 a year. A Wisconsin study estimated the total cost of a lame dairy cow to be as high as $300 per case.
Copper sulfate is an effective treatment and preventative for digital dermatitis when used in a footbath. Unfortunately, it’s also expensive, problematic to dispose of, and potentially toxic. The Winter 2016 issue of the Country Folks Cattle Production Guide details strategies for reducing copper use in footbaths, including:
Although the winter months may bring a schedule of its own, your dairy footbath schedule should not fall to the wayside. Proper footbathing at regular intervals helps prevent the spread of infectious hoof diseases. It can also lead to less lameness from painful dairy cow hoof problems.
Winter is an important time to keep hoof health in mind. Footbath schedules and treatments may alter due to freezing temperatures. Although many anti-microbials may not be active during the winter months, hairy heel wart bacteria remain effective throughout the year
Digital dermatitis, or hairy heel wart, is a widespread and prevalent disease among beef and dairy cattle which can have long term and severe impacts on herd health and productivity. This is a condition that dairy farmers cannot ignore and hope that it goes away.
Heifers shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to hoof care treatment. A recent article helps drive home the message that heifers are at as much risk as milking cows for digital dermatitis (hairy heel wart).
Some producers may be thinking about installing a footbath to better manage hoof health. If you’re ready to take the plunge, here are some general guidelines for installing and maintaining a footbath on your dairy:
“Should we run a treatment protocol? Or a maintenance protocol?” That’s a question hoof trimmers hear a lot. To answer it, we first need determine exactly which hoof issues are present. Are we dealing with claw horn lesions? Infections? Hairy heel wart?
Hoof care specialists recommend footbaths because they provide consistent and thorough treatment of the entire hoof. However, accurate measuring and mixing of chemicals is critical. Even minor mistakes can result in footbaths which are ineffective or even harmful.
Dairy producers today know the importance of using footbath additives correctly to achieve best results from their hoof health program. Here is a sample program using the HoofMax additive from AgroChem for copper and zinc sulfate footbaths for best results .
Copper sulfate is a staple on many dairy operations these days, thanks to its efficacy in treating and preventing hoof health problems. Copper sulfate is bacteriostatic, binding to and neutralizing pathogens in organic matter that can cause digital dermatitis and other problems.
The multiple challenges of fighting the “good fight” against infectious hoof disease can make it tough to gauge the real extent of lameness in your dairy herd. They can also inadvertently lead to some cows being retreated for the same stubborn hoof lesion at every trimming, while others who may need it go untreated.
Lameness is one of the most devastating disease impacting animal welfare and profitability in U.S. dairy operations. Economic losses commonly associated with lameness include treatment costs, reduced milk production, decreased reproductive performance and premature culling. Some cited costs include…..
Formaldehyde has long had a place in dairy footbath programs. It’s an effective hoof hardener, a powerful disinfectant, and costs less than copper and zinc sulfate. But formaldehyde has some serious drawbacks. Here are the top 5 reasons – in reverse order — why dairy producers should rethink the use of formaldehyde in their footbath programs:
Footbaths have become a staple in dairy operations looking to treat or prevent infectious hoof diseases. But when a footbath becomes dirty or diluted, it provides no benefit and may even create additional problems. Some producers have incorporated a pre-wash into their hoof hygiene program; others aren’t sure they’re worth the time and trouble. Here are some of the most common questions regarding the use of a pre-wash in a hoof health protocol.