Digital dermatitis is a commonly found disease in dairy herds. It is also called strawberry foot because the infected area looks like a strawberry with its red color and hairs growing from it. The disease is highly contagious so it spreads very quickly throughout your herd, there are ways to prevent and cure it but it needs to be closely watched and managed with corrective action plans.
DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM
In the dairy industry; a lame cow is a problematic cow because she will not produce her potential milk production. A cause a cow might be lame is the disease commonly known as strawberry foot or scientifically know as Digital Dermatitis. It is a disease that infects the bottom of the foot just below the dewclaws. It is caused by the bacteria called spirochete bacterium or treponemes. It is very easily brought into the herd; it can come from walking in the barn with clothes or boots worn in another livestock facility or from the manure build up in your barn. It is common that cows get infected with the disease but don’t show any sign of lameness until introduced to high stress levels or environmental components that cause the bacteria to become harmful. It is hard for the farmer to diagnose the disease but when they do it is often too late. It is painful to the animal so they become lame and will cause their milk production to decrease drastically. When a cow becomes lame they will often spend most of their time lying down in the stalls, in order to create milk they need to walk around, drink lots of water, and most importantly eat their feed. Studies showed 1.7% of milk is reduced per day with the disease, infertility problems are also affected up to 20 days from calving to the 1st service (calving to first breeding).
• In 1974, Italian researchers diagnosed the bacterial disease we know today as Digital Dermatitis. In 1980 the disease found worldwide. It is was found to be caused by a bacterium called spirochete or treponemes.
• Many farmers have tried to treat the problem and have been successful in some ways but with it travelling so fast it is scarce to get rid of it in the entire herd.
• Footbaths are a common go to treatment because it is easy to use and effective. The usual bath consists of water and copper sulfate, formaldehyde, and or other bacteria killing agents that are on the market. These footbaths must be used with caution because using too much can cause inflammation which can lead to further lameness of the animal. What has been affective as well is a powder called lincomycin; it is put on the infected area (usually done during hoof trimming) and then wrapped with a bandage for roughly two weeks.
• If the problem does not get dealt with the effects can be very harmful because the cow will continue to get lame and will be in pain causing her to lose weight which is not a dairy farmer wants to see since that means a lower production in milk. Poor management is also a common factor which doesn’t...