Dairy farmers use a range of different footbath solutions to help control lameness, often switching from one to the other with little difference in performance. Many solutions arrive on the market with the promise of treating all lameness problems but fail to live up to expectations. So how do farmers decide what will work against their lameness problems, especially the complex digital dermatitis problem? One option is to listen to other farmers. However as every farm is different often what works on one farm will frustratingly not work on another. Another option is to consider independent peer reviewed scientific evidence.
The prestigious Journal of Dairy Science recently published a peer-reviewed study comparing Hoofsure Endurance to copper sulphate entitled, ‘Effect of a tea tree oil and organic acid footbath solution on digital dermatitis in dairy cows’, by the University of Kentucky.
The aim of the study was to find an alternative footbath solution to copper sulphate because when used footbath solutions are deposited on soil, high levels of copper in the soil may result, which can have toxic and negative effects on plant growth. For farmers using copper sulphate in there footbath, Provita will do a free soil test which is analysed at an independent laboratory.
The robust on farm study used a split footbath with one side of the cow’s feet receiving copper sulphate and the other receiving Hoofsure Endurance. This eliminated any bias due to factors such as genetics, yield and lactation. No other treatment interventions were performed. After 9 weeks, both Hoofsure Endurance and copper sulphate were effective in reducing digital dermatitis by 32%. Significantly, after 18 weeks, Hoofsure Endurance reduced digital dermatitis levels by 49% while copper sulphate reduced it by 46%.
The Royal Veterinary College, London recently conducted a similar study comparing Hoofsure Endurance to Formalin. 90 cows were involved in a 24 week split footbath study. Preliminary results after 12 weeks showed Hoofsure Endurance reduced digital dermatitis by 51% whereas with Formalin the reduction was lower at 43%.
With lameness estimated to cost approximately £10,000 per 100 cows in herds with an average level of lameness, it represents one of the areas dairy farmers can target to reduce costs and benefit from improved herd health and fertility.
Hoofsure Endurance is a safe footbath solution containing organic acids, tea tree oil and wetting agents to be used for daily foot bathing purposes. It is extremely cost effective, given its 1% dilution rate. However at times of risk such as, changing products, changing feed, introduction of freshly calved cows or heifers, a higher cow cubicle rate and peak production it is best to use it at 2%
Hoofsure Combat is a film forming sanitising spray based on tea tree oil and organic acids. It should be spot sprayed for 3 to 5 days every milking for early stage problems, i.e. less than 2 cm.
Later stage problems, more than 2 cm, can by spot sprayed using Hoofsure Endurance at 25% and applied using an acid resistant sprayer. This can be a useful technique for larger herds with a high level of infection.
Hoofsure Konquest is a potent gel based on organic acids, tea tree oil and a penetrating agent, it can be seen to work with minutes, see pictures. It is now available in 15g, 30g and 300g tubes plus a new 300g tub. This product can be used on along with a wrap for cows that are lame with later stage problems more than 2cm. Care must be taken to apply the gel to infected areas only plus the wrap must be removed after two days.
Provita are committed to supporting dairy farmers in their fight against lameness. On a no obligation basis, the Provita sales team, who are fully trained by industry experts, offer a Lameness Reduction Programme. This includes cow mobility and in-parlour digital dermatitis scoring, footbath calibration and recommended product protocols, cost benefit calculation and continuous reassessment to help farmers achieve better herd mobility.