Digital Dermatitis: Infectious

Hairy Warts or Mortellaro Disease

Digital Dermatitis (DD) is an inflammation of the skin around the cow’s hoof. Digital Dermatitis

It is most commonly found on the hind feet, more specifically at the back of the hoof, and between the bulbs of the heels. The disease can spread around the foot and into the cleft between the claws. It is also characterized as being a very painful condition that results in lameness. This consequently reduces food intake, milk yield, and fertility.

While the acute stage of digital dermatitis is recognized by a ‘strawberry’ appearance, either 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 bacterial species is the most common one that causes Digital Dermatitis. Furthermore, various environmental factors can also stimulate the disease.

Prevention

  • Maintain clean alleys to keep feet clean and dry. In addition, we recommend the use of alley scrapers.
  • Purchase ‘clean’ animals and know where they come from. Also quarantine, examine and treat new arrivals, especially heifers.
  • Avoid overcrowding of facilities.
  • Ensure dry bedding and proper ventilation, consequently achieving 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.
  • Regularly trim all your cows (2–3 times a year).
  • Contact us to discuss a spraying protocol and foot bath schedule that fits your herd’s requirements.
  • Also check out our Hoof-fit Gel: it is 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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