By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts
With summer just around the corner, farmers may be seeing more of their veterinarians. Freshening cows, pregnancy checks and difficult birthings may be on the top of the list for a vet’s visit. However, are cows’ hooves being looked at, too?
“An area that has not been actively pursued by veterinarians is the area of actively monitoring hoof health on a routine basis,” said Dr. Gerard Cramer in a 2015 study from the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
“As a starting point, veterinarians can work with hoof trimmers and farm staff to establish and standardize the recording systems,” said Dr. Cramer.
Although a majority of dairy farms have a hoof trimmer, some trimmers do not keep records of hoof problems, such as digital dermatitis. Once veterinary records are established, producers can monitor which cows have hoof problems and how they are being treated. Records can also assist with crew training.
“Possibly the greatest opportunity for veterinarians to get involved in hoof health is for them to provide training and monitoring programs for on-farm staff,” says Dr. Cramer. Senior workers may not have time to review the importance of hoof care with new employees. That’s where veterinarians can step in to help teach new workers.
Once crew members can correctly monitor hoof health, they can help determine frequency of footbathing. Hoof problems like digital dermatitis can decrease in a herd with proper treatment at the right time. Early diagnosis of hoof problems can reduce production loss, emergency vet or hoof trimmer visits, and cullings.
With its multiple formulations, HealMax from AgroChem gives producers several options. “Used correctly, HealMax delivers positive results in one week. I would recommend it to anyone whether or not they have a [digital dermatitis] issue,” says Dr. Mark Whelan.
Ask your veterinarian how he or she can help with your dairy’s hoof health this summer and year ’round.