How Often Do I Need To Footbath My Cows?

Ever heard of a “teat dip” for cows? It’s a fast and simple way to prevent mastitis, a bad udder infection. Footbathing for cows work in a similar way, but instead of focusing on the udder, they target a different area crucial for a cow’s health – its feet!

Here’s the thing: dirty hooves can lead to painful infections like Digital Dermatitis. Let’s be clear, footbaths can’t cure digital dermatits or other bacterial legions, but they can prevent them. They’re not a cure-all, but they can significantly reduce the risk of these infections just like a teat dip protects the udder.

The right frequency for foot bathing your herd depends on the severity of the issues on your farm.Start by establishing the general cleanliness of the cow’s feet, along with the percentage of the herd infected with and the severity of the lesions.

Step 1: Assess Your Herd’s Needs with the Hoof Hygiene Score Scale

Think of it like a hoof hygiene report card. We want to see how clean your cows’ feet are overall. Grab at least 40% of your herd and give their hind legs and hooves a score from 1 to 4 based on how much manure is stuck on. (SOURCE: Nigel B. Cook MRCVS, “A Guide to Investigating a Herd Lameness Problem,” University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine).

  • Score 1: Legs and hooves are clean with little or no manure visible on the lower legs or hooves.
  • Score 2: Legs and hooves are slightly dirty; the lower legs and hooves are lightly splashed with spots of manure.
  • Score 3: Legs and hooves are dirty; there are blotches of manure on the hoof and right up the leg.
  • Score 4: Legs and hooves are very dirty; there are distinct areas of caked-on manure on the hoof and leg.

Step 2: Footbath Frequency Based on Scores

The cleaner your cows’ hooves (lower scores), the less frequent the footbaths need to be.

  • Less than 25% score 3 or 4: Footbath cows 1 day a week during lactation (first 150 days) and as needed for late lactation and dry cows.
  • 25-50% score 3 or 4: Footbath cows 2 days a week during first 150 days of lactation and 1 day a week for late lactation and dry cows.
  • 50-75% score 3 or 4: Footbath cows 5 days a week during first 150 days of lactation and 2 days a week for late lactation and dry cows.
  • 75-100% score 3 or 4: Footbath cows 7 days a week during first 150 days of lactation and 3 days a week for late lactation and dry cows.

Step 3: Setting Up a Footbath Programme

When setting up a footbath programme on farm, we recommend a four-week cycle.We have found that this program will allow you to manage the incidence of bacterial infections in your herd.

  • Week 1: Use Healmax Footbath solution (2%) to tackle existing Digital Dermatitis concerns.
  • Weeks 2-4: Switch to formaldehyde or copper sulfate (5%) to maintain healthy hooves.

Footbath Additives – Hoofmax And Healmax Footbath

There are also footbath additives such as Healmax and Hoofmax that can help with overall hoof hygiene. Healmax deliveries results without heavy metals or formaldehyde. Hoofmax can help reduce the copper sulphate usage by up to 80% significantly reducing the cost of the on-farm footbath program.

Dp Hoof Care Your One Stop Shop For All Your Hoof Care Solutions

Alongside HEALMAX, DP Hoof Care supplies a complete range hoof care products. From Hoof Trimming Crushes to Blue Max Glue, we have everything you need to keep your cows’ hooves healthy. We also offer our expert advice and support so your animals stay happy and healthy. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.

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