Tackle lameness before it hits your bottom line

The current grazing season has been a stark contrast to 2018 for many, with plentiful grass supplies available to grazed livestock throughout the country.  Even this can have its drawbacks, especially for lambs, with a greater likelihood of scald occurring.  Recent weeks have seen increased enquiries to Provita relating to sheep lameness and the Hoofsure range.  Unfortunately lamb prices lately have dropped but positively this past week that trend has reversed for a much needed lift.  That being said margins are tighter, therefore to carry any number of lame sheep will have a significant impact on profits due to treatment cost, reduction in weight gain and greater amount of days spent on farm.

Hoofsure Endurance can be used as a 25% topical spray in conjunction with or as an alternative to footbathing in dairy cattle.  Provita Konquest gel is a unique concentrated blend with potent penetrating action and advanced bio-adhesion properties.  It can be used with or without a bandage on those larger lesions.  Provita Combat is a unique film-forming spray which provides long-lasting activity and aids the healing process. It contains a unique blend of organic acids and essential oils for maximum effect.


Topical application – CATTLE

While footbathing plays a vital role in preventing many lameness conditions, topical applications to lesions are required where infection rates or pressure are high.  Even with an effective foot bathing programme, the incidence of Digital Dermatitis (DD) on any given farm will have intermittent spikes.  This may be due to stocking rate changes, increased calving periods, seasonal factors, etc.  The best way to manage lesions associated with DD is to identify them early and treat directly.  Early intervention prior to onset of lameness can resolve the lesion quickly and avoid much of the unnecessary associated economic loss.  For instance, a typical DD case will cost £99 per case (AHDB source) due to treatments costs, milk loss and reduced fertility performance. For immature lesions, Provita have developed a unique non-antibiotic spray, namely Hoofsure Combat.  This topical spray plaster acts rapidly on contact to form a waterproof film which seals out dirt and bacteria thus stopping re-infection while allowing natural healing.  This can be applied on consecutive days for up to 1 week as required.  Hoofsure Konquest gel is for those larger lesions (>2cm) which may require a light bandage application.  A 24 hour contact time with the infectious lesion is ample time for treatment and avoids leaving tight bandages on for longer than necessary which can have negative effects.  Also Konquest contains no antibiotics with the added benefit of no milk withdrawal period.

As Summer 2019 draws to an end (*sigh*) and we edge ever closer to autumn/winter rehousing, this presents an ideal opportunity to put in a concerted effort to tackle any lameness concerns.  This means farms will be starting from a healthy low base of lameness before housing, making it easier to reduce and manage any unwanted spikes.

Topical application – SHEEP

With recent guidance saying that foot trimming does not have a place for controlling infectious lameness in sheep (Farmers Weekly 26-7-19).  In fact latest research  has shown it may exacerbate the problem and lead to the spread of infectious bodies via equipment and between sheep.  Thus the use of effective topical treatments is more important, and Provita’s Combat spray and Konquest gel would have a role to play in any sheep lameness plan. The film-forming action of Combat makes it tremendously beneficial for scald treatment and prevents reinfection of area.  A high number of applications is available in each bottle making it cost-effective.  For those “harder to treat”, more chronic lesions, Konquest gel would be the chosen product. Available in 300g jars or 30g syringes for ease of use and works quickly to treat and reduce pain of lameness.

Written by George Shaw, MPharm MPSNI, Technical Adviser, george.shaw@provita.co.uk, 07841 926219.  *references available on request

For more information FREEPHONE 0800 328 4982 or info@provita.co.uk