Digital Dermatitis: Infectious

Hairy Warts or Mortellaro Disease

Digital Dermatitis (DD) is an inflammation of the skin around the cow’s hoof. It is most commonly found on the hind feet—at the back of the hoof, between the bulbs of the heels—but the disease can spread around the foot and into the cleft between the claws. Digital dermatitis is a very painful condition that results in lameness and subsequent reductions in food intake, milk yield and fertility.

The acute stage of digital dermatitis is recognized by the ‘strawberry’ appearance, with or without long hairs. The chronic lesions of digital dermatitis will be a more grayish colour, with a proliferative wart appearance.

Causes

The Treponema bacteria (Spirochete), often in combination with various environmental factors, are a possible cause of Digital Dermatitis.

Digital Dermatitis

Prevention

  • Maintain clean alleys to keep feet clean & dry. The use of alley scrapers is recommended.
  • Purchase ‘clean’ animals and know where they came from. Quarantine, examine and treat new arrivals, especially heifers.
  • Avoid overcrowding of facilities.
  • Ensure dry bedding and proper ventilation to achieve a fresh barn climate.
  • Prevent zinc and magnesium deficiencies.
  • Be sure to have a foot bath and/or spray program in place.

Management

  • After trimming, apply Hoof-fit Gel and a wrap to the affected hoof. If necessary, repeat this procedure after 3 days.
  • Have all cows regularly trimmed (2–3 times a year).
  • Contact us to discuss a spraying protocol and foot bath schedule that fits your herd’s requirements.
  • Check out our Hoof-fit Gel: the FIRST non-antibiotic medicine in Canada for Digital Dermatitis in dairy cattle.

Also check out our Intracare products for optimum hoof care!

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