Category Dairy Cattle

Treating Hoof Care for Cows Like Teat Care

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

(Adapted from a recent article in Hoard’s Dairyman Intel)

dairy cow hoof healthMastitis and lameness are two common problems for dairy cows – and their owners! Both cost producers time, production and money. However, both diseases can be viewed as similar in ways of prevention.

Early detection is the first step in preventing both mastitis and lameness. Prevention of lameness can be as simple as having a herdsman walking through the barns to check for lame cows, or giving hooves a once-over when cows are in the milking parlor.

Approach lameness detection with the same dedication you would in preventing mastitis.  Keep hooves dry, clean and cool to minimize the growth of bacteria that can cause diseases such as digital dermatitis (hairy heel wart). Wet, dirty and hot conditions are perfect opportunities for promoting bacterial growth.

Footbaths are another preventative tool. The more a cow’s hooves are exposed to footbath solutions, the more effective prevention will be. Just like teat dips on udders, footbath chemicals or solutions on hooves can help prevent costly problems down the road.

Footbath concentrates like HealMax and HoofMax from AgroChem are designed to obtain results and promote hoof health for reduced risk of disease and lameness. HealMax remains effective in higher temperatures and won’t flash-off like formaldehyde. HoofMax optimizes footbaths based on copper or zinc sulfate to achieve good control with less heavy metals and expense.

Talk to your veterinarian or hoof trimmer today about a hoof care protocol on your dairy.

Empire Farm Days Are Just Around the Corner!

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Empire Farm DaysEmpire Farm Days is just around the corner! The show takes place August 9-11 in Seneca Falls, NY. Be sure to stop by Lot #473B to visit with AgroChem. Learn more about our advanced chemical solutions for hoof care, udder care and equipment sanitation!

Study Shows HoofMax Effectively Controls Digital Dermatitis Bacteria at Lower Copper Sulfate Levels

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

HoofMax Footbath Concentrate is widely used to improve dairy hoof health while reducing copper use and expense. A study of HoofMax Footbath Concentrate in an in-vitro system designed to simulate on-farm conditions found it to be a safe and effective means of controlling the bacteria that cause foot rot and digital dermatitis (hairy heel warts), using low levels (5 to 10 lbs) of copper sulfate. View the complete study here.

Reducing Lameness in Dairy Cows

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical  Experts

Looking for ways to reduce lameness in your herd? During a recent workshop at the 2016 London Dairy Congress, Vic Daniel, president of the Hoof Trimmers Association, hosted a seminar on how to reduce lameness in a herd. Check out the video for the 3 important things dairy producers can do now to get a handle on lameness.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW9iwXHaJZU%5D

Is Your Veterinarian Helping Prevent Hoof Problems on Your Dairy Farm?

dairy hoof healthBy 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.

Digital Dermatitis Control Starts with Heifers

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

dairy cow hoof healthSpring time means freshening heifers for many dairy producers. New cows in the milking herd bring increased milk production and perhaps a few other things, like digital dermatitis.

To control the spread of digital dermatitis, studies have suggested that treatment of the disease must start with heifers.

“Digital dermatitis control must start during the heifer-rearing period,” says Dr. Nigel Cook of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who co-authored a recent study that looked at the progression of digital dermatitis in a dairy herd over 5 years. The results suggested that prompt topical treatment throughout the life cycle of a cow can help control digital dermatitis.

Also called hairy heel warts, digital dermatitis is an infectious disease that can lead to lameness in dairy cows. The disease can be managed through copper or zinc sulfate footbaths or topical treatments. Afflicted cows will have reddened and painful wart-like areas on their hooves.

“If your lactating herd has digital dermatitis and there is no dry cow or pre-lactating heifer preventative footbath program, you will always be taking two steps forward and three steps back,” says Jamie Sullivan in a recent article published in Progressive Dairyman.

Sullivan calls digital dermatitis “mastitis of the foot,” and suggests handling it the same way that mastitis is treated. “If a cow has mastitis, would you just dip her teats more?” she asks, “No. Apply the same concept for footbaths and digital dermatitis.”

Footbath products like HoofMax can cut the cost of a footbath program by using up to 80% less copper sulfate. HealMax Footbath Concentrate delivers results without the use of formaldehyde, and is ideal for whole-herd application HealMax Spray can be applied in the milking parlor as needed, and HealMax Foam is ideal for whole-herd application.

For more information about footbathing your heifers, talk to your hoof trimmer or veterinarian.

Footbath Schedule for Your Dairy Cows

By Dale Baker and Chip Hendrickson
AgroChem Hoof Care Technical Experts

Dairy cow footbathAlthough the winter months may bring a schedule of its own, your dairy footbath schedule should not fall to the wayside. Proper footbathing at regular intervals helps prevent the spread of infectious hoof diseases. It can also lead to less lameness from painful dairy cow hoof problems.

Some producers may wonder, what is the main criterion for a dairy footbath schedule?

The condition of the cows’ legs determines dairy footbath schedules. “The more manure contamination on cows’ lower legs, the more frequently we must footbath. While some dairies with excellent leg hygiene may use a footbath only once a week, others must footbath 5 to 7 days per week,” says Dr. Nigel Cook of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and creator of the scoring system.

As shown in the graph below, the scoring of a leg depends on its cleanliness; the higher the score, the dirtier the leg. Once a producer has scored all legs in the milking herd, the percentage of cows scoring a 3 or 4 determines how often the herd should go through a footbath (see graph below).

Dairy cow footbath, scoring chartSource: Footbath alternatives

Another factor that influences footbathing is a cow’s lactation. “Early lactation cows should be footbathed at the maximum frequency determined by the leg hygiene,” says Dr. Cook.

Producers should continue to monitor leg hygiene to alter their footbathing schedule as needed.

Footbath additives such as HealMax and HoofMax can help producers with overall hoof hygiene. HealMax delivers results without heavy metals or formaldehyde. HoofMax can help producers reduce their copper sulfate usage by up to 80%, lowering the cost of a footbath program.

Talk to your veterinarian or hoof trimmer for more information about footbath schedules and treatments.