We have many products available to help treat footrot, scald and other foot problems
Foot rot is an acute or chronic contagious disease of cattle. It is characterized by lameness due to an inflammation of the tissues within and around the foot. It is commonly called "foul in the foot" and is totally unrelated to foot rot in sheep. Common clinical signs include lameness, high temperature, swollen foot and leg and a characteristic odour from the infected area.
Laminitis is a painful condition of the foot in cattle and horses and causes the laminae or sensitive tissues to swell. Usually caused by nutritional problems, it is most common in animals fed high levels of concentrates which can lead to rumen acidosis which in turn releases endotoxins causing the laminae swelling.
Digital dermatitis of cattle
This is an inflammation of the skin around the hoof of a cow. It appears to be more prevalent at the back of the foot, generally between the bulbs of the heels. It can spread, around the foot and into the cleft between the claws. Digital dermatitis is a very painful condition resulting in lameness, which subsequently reduces food intake, milk yield and fertility. It has been reported that on average, a case of digital dermatitis can cost a Dairy farmer £70 per case. Some points to note are:
- The disease is infectious in origin. It can be reproduced by applying digital dermatitis lesions to moist damaged skin (although this is not related to natural disease spread).
- Spiral bacteria are found in the lesions but not in normal skin. Some strains are consistently found deep in damaged skin.
- Antibodies to these bacteria are more common in herds and individual cattle with digital dermatitis However the relationship between antibodies and digital dermatitis in individuals is not good enough to be a diagnostic test.
- Treatment with antibiotics can rapidly reduce the severity of digital dermatitis and the associated pain and lameness.
Lameness is so common in many flocks of sheep that farmers perhaps unwisely regard it as "a fact of life" and give it only irregular attention. Apart from the discomfort to the sheep, the loss in production and breeding efficiency can be considerable. Footrot in all its forms is generally the most important condition causing lameness in sheep, but closer examination can often reveal a number of other causes such as "Scald" or interdigital irritation which in itself can be painful but also lead to further and potentially more serious infections. A relatively new condition known as CODD (contagious ovine digital dermatitis) is now widespread through the UK and causes separation of the hoof from the leg. First recognised in the UK about four years ago, the infection has since spread rapidly to become a major problem, especially in commercial hill and upland flocks in the North of England and Southern Scotland.
The problem is compounded by the fact that cases on farms usually occur in combination with other foot infections such as scald and footrot, and these often need to be eliminated before a definitive diagnosis of CODD can be made.
CODD infections differ from scald and footrot in that the infection usually begins at the top of the hoof, in the area known as the coronary band, rather than between the toes. Treating CODD has proved difficult because the infection appears to be 'resistant' to many of the footbath chemicals and topical or injectable antibiotics routinely used to treat scald and footrot. To help prevent the spread footrot, it's extremely important to thoroughly examine the feet of all newly purchased animals and to strictly quarantine them for at least four weeks to see whether infection develops.