Hoof Disease Treatment and Prevention Suggestions

Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory veterinarian Gregg Hanzlicek says warm, wet weather can be the perfect environment for bacterial infections that could cause lameness in cattle. One hoof disease - foot rot - accounts for most cases of lameness in pastured cattle and caused by bacteria in the rumen of healthy cattle - and found naturally in the soil. For cattle to develop foot rot - Hanzlicek says the skin must be broken. He says the first signs of foot rot are subtle swelling and lameness - which can be hard for producers to spot. There are several good injectable antibiotics labeled for cattle for foot rot - according to Hanzlicek. He says preventing the disease is easier in dry lot conditions versus open pasture - and the best shot for prevention is to provide two to four ounces of trace mineral a day. Another hoof disease is hairy heel warts - which Hanzlicek says is not common in pastured cattle - though an estimated 70-percent of dairy operations are affected by the disease. Experts believe it is caused by Treponema. Hairy heel warts are circular, red to reddish gray sores on the back of the foot and usually the back feet above where the hoof attaches to the skin. Hanzlicek says treating hairy heel warts is tougher and less effective than treating foot rot as a topical antibiotic is the most effective treatment.

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