Category Beef Cattle

digital dermatitis in beef cattle

Researchers say Digital Dermatitis is Increasing on Beef Cattle Feedlots

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Researchers at Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine recently said the incidence of digital dermatitis is increasing on beef feedlots, according to an article in Iowa Farmer Today.

Dr. Paul Plummer, an assistant professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine at Iowa State, and a team of researchers have been awarded a three-year, $500,000 grant from the USDA to study the disease on feedlots.

Digital dermatitis, also called hairy heel wart, is a bacterial disease that causes painful, wart-like lesions between the bulbs of the heels. If left untreated, it can lead to lameness, reduced fertility and reduced performance in both beef and dairy cattle.

Dr. Plummer said it’s unclear exactly why digital dermatitis is increasing on beef cattle feedlots, but believes environmental contamination and management may play a role.

“Dairy farmers have learned to manage the disease and minimize lameness,” Plummer said. “But feedlots aren’t equipped in the same way to do that. Controlling the disease is a lot more difficult on the feedlots.”

Options for managing digital dermatitis on feedlots include topical salves, antibiotics and footbaths. HealMax is a biodegradable product, popular with dairy producers, which achieves results without formaldehyde or heavy metals. It is available as a spray, foam and footbath concentrate. HoofMax is a chemical additive designed to optimize footbaths based on copper or zinc sulfate, to keep copper working even in the presence of organic material.

Both products are available through AgroChem or your veterinarian. Visit for more information.

Let’s hear it for hooves!

AgroChem Hoof Health SolutionsBy Dale Baker
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Expert

Like so much in life, we often don’t fully appreciate something until it’s gone – or no longer works the way it used to. The same is true of hooves, those magnificent cloven appendages that support not only a 1,000-lb lactating dairy or feedlot steer, but thousands of dairy and ranch operations and farm families nationwide.

When hooves don’t work the way they’re supposed to, everyone suffers – from the lame cow which loses up to six pounds of production per day, to the dairy producer who loses about $350 per cow in lost milk, fewer days open, treatment time and labor. One veterinary journal estimates the average case of digital dermatitis costs producers $133 in treatment and production losses.

Clearly, hooves are more than hooves. They’re the pillars of your success. That’s why AgroChem, Inc. is bringing you – a new online resource devoted exclusively to the subject of hoof care for dairy and beef cattle. Here you’ll find the latest research in hoof health, trends in hoof care, and answers to questions on everything from copper footbaths to hairy heel warts.

Got a question or suggestion for our team of hoof care experts? Contact us today. Because healthy hooves are the foundation of a healthy business!

Peggy Coffeen. “How much is lameness costing you?” Agri-View, Feb 7, 2013

E. Cha, J.A. Herti, D. Bar, Y.T. Grohn. “The cost of different types of lameness in dairy cows calculated by dynamic programming.” Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 97, Issue 1, Oct. 2010.