Summer heat can be especially hard on your cows’ hoof health. To cool themselves, cows may spend more time on their feet—as much as three hours longer each day, according to veterinary researcher Dr. Nigel Cook of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Cows also avoid eating at the hottest times of day, making their intake less consistent. Both factors affect hoof horn production and quality, ultimately leading to increased hoof lesions. Hoof health consultant and equipment designer Karl Burgi of the Dairyland Hoof Care Institute noted that lameness consistently peaks two months after the hottest days of the year. So while you may not see an immediate connection between heat stress and hoof lesions, it’s there.
To fight hoof lesions, including digital dermatitis, trim feet as needed and keep heat stress at a minimum. But if you’re counting on formaldehyde, don’t. Formaldehyde actually loses effectiveness at any temperature extreme, hot or cold. This is especially true in summer, when formaldehyde has a tendency to flash off at higher temperatures.
To combat hoof problems in summer and year-round, remember that biodegradable HealMax® products from AgroChem, Inc. keep working even in hot (and cold) temperatures. Safe for crew and cows, HealMax delivers results in as soon as a week and is available in applications for quick and easy spot treatment, whole herd coverage, and footbath concentrate.
For more information on maintaining healthy hooves in hot weather, consult your hoof trimmer or veterinarian.
SOURCE: “Prepare Cows’ Feet in May and June for Summer’s Heat,” Karl Burgi, Progressive Dairyman, June 17, 2008.