Strategies To Prevent & Control Infectious Claw Lesions
Many farmers will have footbath programs in order to prevent and control active and chronic infectious claw lesions such as digital dermatitis (DD). Here are some common questions to keep in mind when evaluating the effectiveness of the footbath program:
1) Can footbaths be used to traet active cases of DD?
Footbaths are a lameness prevention tool to help avoid subclinical and chronic cases of DD from progressing into acute, clinical lesions.
It is not used to treat clinical cases of DD.
The only solution to reduce number of active DD lesions is topical treatment.
2) Where is the best location for footbath?
Best location is on a level surface in an area regularly traveled by the cows.
3) How long should the footbath be?
Length of foodtbath should be around 10 - 12 feet long to ensure rear feet receives at least 2 immersions in the footbath solution.
4) What is the recommended height of footbath?
Sidewalls of the footbath should be sloped from a height of 3 feet above the floor of the bath to the upper edge of the bath and the sides should be enclosed to create a tunnel.
5) What is the minimum depth of solution recommended?
To ensure full immersion of the hoof in solution, it is recommended to have minimum depth of 4 inches.
6) How frequently should a footbath be used?
Footbaths should be used on consecutive days each week based on hygiene scoring or relapse rate of chronic DD.
7) Should cows be able to bypass a footbath?
On days when the footbaths are not being used, cows should be able to bypass permanent footbaths.
8) How often should footbath solution be changed?
Common industry standard is to change the footbath solution every 100 to 300 cows.
Frequency will depend on cow hygiene scores, type of disinfectant or chemical concentration used.
Make sure to alternate times for replenishing footbaths with fresh solution so each group of cows has access to fresh solution.