6 October 1995

Lame excuses – dont delay

DAIRY producers are urged to re-think how quickly they examine lame cows to establish cause of lameness.

Graham David, of Shrewsbury Veterinary Investigation Centre, warned the annual British Veterinary Association Congress of the need to deal with acutely lame cows without delay, given the increased incidence of an acute form of foul-in-the-foot.

This super-foul had shot up over the past two to three years. "Were dealing with the same disease but it is extremely severe and once established infection progresses rapidly. Failure to treat immediately can be fatal," he said.

The presence of a high level of digital dermatitis in a herd may lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment of super-foul. "Herdsmen may delay treatment of super-foul believing it to be a case of digital dermatitis. Such a delay could be very costly."

He urged caution when using minimum volume footbath.

"Ive seen large outbreaks of super-foul within days of passage through such a footbath..

"In open cases of foul the solution may not control that particular organism or be effective. Running cows through a footbath to which they are all exposed is like putting them through an organism soup," he said. "It acts as a vector for transmission of the infection."

He believed the formalin foot bath solution was an effective technique to prevent foul-in-the-foot. But it was not that effective against digital dermatitis.

"More recently footbaths have been developed which contain minimal solutions mainly for application of antibiotics to control digital dermatitis," he said.