Cattle lameness

Digital dermatitis prevention and control in the face of reservoirs and chronic DD lesions

  • Dörte Döpfer
Keywords: digital dermatitis, cattle, dairy cows, lameness


Digital dermatitis (DD) or hairy heel warts is the most important infectious claw disease associated with lameness in dairy and beef cattle. This disease has appeared worldwide and has affected dairy cattle of all ages as early as 3 months of age, but mostly around breeding age and again during lactation around 21 to 120 days in milk (DIM). This seminar is aimed at emphasizing how chronically affected dairy cows with a history of DD before first calving will increase infectious pressure upon the lactating herd, and that early detection efforts, topical treatment, and disinfecting hoof baths should be customized to the dynamics of DD on-farm. The so-called ‘Manageable State of Disease’ where DD is under control, but still present, in a group of cattle, can be reached by systematic prevention and control of DD in the pre-calving heifers combined with risk factor management in addition to customized prevention and control of DD in the lactating herd. Veterinarians, hoof trimmers, and herd managers are part of exacerbating DD outbreaks and chronicity of DD lesions when too caustic or too frequent prevention and control measures are implemented. We are part of the problem! This presentation will explain why.

Author Biography

Dörte Döpfer

Food Animal Production Medicine Section, School of Veterinary Medicine, UW-Madison, WI 53706

Dairy Sessions