Blitzing Digital Dermatitis can lower antibiotic use – Vet Times

10 Nov 2017

A new protocol designed to control digital dermatitis (DD) could also help significantly reduce on-farm antimicrobial use.

Addressing the BCVA’s 50th anniversary conference in Southport, cattle health and production specialist vet Sara Pedersen outlined an on-farm case study where she had successfully employed what she called a blitz approach.

Dr Pedersen told delegates DD was a major problem for the 165 Holstein cattle on the farm, situated on the south Wales coast, and the aim of her study was to reduce antibiotic usage through increased awareness of DD.

Key to the protocol was to identify every cow in the herd with active or recurring DD lesions that might infect others – then, after cleaning and drying all lesions, “blitz” each of those animals every day for three consecutive days with a double dose of a licensed topical oxytetracycline spray. Thereafter, the animals were regularly put through a disinfectant, not antibiotic, footbath.

During the treatment phase the cattle were not allowed through the footbath, so the spray was not washed off, but, thereafter, an improved bath design meant each cow’s foot spent more time immersed in the solution of 5% formalin, which the farmer insisted on, as opposed to the 2.5% solution advised by Dr Pedersen. Bathing frequency was increased and hygiene was improved with the provision of clean, dry housing.


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