Lameness is highly prevalent within the dairy cattle sector and has significant economic and welfare implications (Green et al, 2002). Approximately 20 to 25% of all cases of lameness worldwide are attributable to digital dermatitis (DD), and in the UK approximately 70% of dairy farms are affected with DD (Laven, 2003). Digital dermatitis is a multi factorial disease defined as a circumscribed, erosive to papillomatous, intensely painful lesion that is often surrounded by a ridge of hyperkeratotic skin bearing hypertrophied hairs and is associated with lameness (Teixera et al, 2010). Formaldehyde or Copper Sulphate are commonly used as footbath solutions with varying results dependant of farm management.
Formaldehyde is a sensitizing agent that can cause an immune system response upon initial exposure. It is also a suspected carcinogen. Copper is a heavy metal that raises environmental issues when used at a high percentage in animal footbaths.
Healthy Hooves enables Copper Sulphate to be reduced by up to 80%, resulting in a more effective footbath solution, which activates copper to be more effective against bacteria, allowing for more cow passes per footbath and is safer than Formaldehyde.
Healthy Hooves® uses a US patented, low pH, triple buffered formula. A 2% solution will effectively dissolve copper sulphate resulting in a chemically chelated compound. Healthy Hooves® maintains a pH of 2.0 in the footbath to keep the copper at a maximum of 85% solubility that yields more actively available copper to attack bacteria.
Healthy Hooves® overcomes the solubility issue and more importantly, controls the release of the cupric ion (Cu ++). Copper is released by biological demand instead of the water conditions. As solubility increases, copper remains bio-available there by reducing copper sulphate use by 80% or more.
The critical difference between copper sulphate dissolved in water and copper sulphate dissolved in Healthy Hooves® is the degree of toxicologically active copper complexes that are formed. Because of the abundance of hydrogen ions in the Healthy Hooves® product, predictably higher concentrations of active copper complexes (Cu2+ ) are held in suspension in a stable weak field chelated chemical bond, thus preventing the precipitation problem that is common with copper sulphate in water alone.
When copper sulphate is dissolved in water, the copper must be solublised, or chemically changed to a stable, bio available chemically active form before it can predictably kill micro-organisms. The extent of these chemical changes is now possible to predict. Field trials with Healthy Hooves® show the buffered low pH, solublises copper to make it predictably bio-available to control bacteria. Thus, the copper concentration can be precisely predicted with Healthy Hooves®.
Healthy Hooves® maintains a consistently low pH through a triple-acid buffered system that maintains the pH and reduces copper sulphate use by up to 85% over copper sulphate alone in water. Healthy Hooves® saves the farmer money while meeting anticipated compliance regulations on copper use.
Healthy Hooves® also eliminates the hazards of formalin while cost effectively minimising the effect of PDD
= 400/500 Cow Passes*
for a 200 litre footbath
For the first 3 weeks footbath twice a day,
five days per week:
4 Litre (2%) of Healthy Hooves Ultimate™
4 Kg (2%) of Copper Sulphate
For use in automatic footbaths, use Healthy Hooves Ultimate™ at 4%
without the addition of Copper Sulphate
On-going use footbath twice a day,
three days a per week:
4 Litre (2%) of Healthy Hooves Ultimate ™
For use in both applications
Formaldehyde is a sensitising agent that can cause an immune system response upon initial exposure. It is also a suspected carcinogen that is linked to nasal cancer and lung cancer. Acute exposure is highly irritating to the eyes, nose and throat and can make you cough and wheeze. Subsequent exposure may cause severe allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Ingestion of formaldehyde can be fatal, and long term exposure to low levels in the air or on the skin can cause asthma-like respiratory problems and skin irritation such as dermatitis and itching. Concentrations of 100ppm are immediately dangerous to health or life.
The objective of the study was to compare the effectiveness of using Healthy Hooves® and 2% copper sulphate as a footbath solution, compared with normal farm practice of using a 5% copper sulphate solution, on the incidence and severity of lameness in dairy cattle, and in particular on Papillomatous Digital Dermatitis (PDD).
|At start of testing||At day 84|
|Number of animals enrolled in test||84||84|
|Number of animals affected||28||3|
|% of animals affected||33.3%||3.6%|
|Number of feet affected||35||4|
|Number of right feet affected||13||2|
|Number of left feet affected||22||2|
|No sign of infection -Score 0||146||155||166||166|
|Mild – Score 1||8||3||2||2|
|Moderate – Score 2||8||4||0||0|
|Severe – Score 3||6||6||0||0|
A split footbath* was used for the study, the left bath contained a 5% copper sulphate solution changed every two milkings and the right bath a 2% copper sulphate solution + Healthy Hooves® changed every four milkings.
In addition to the reduction in the incidence of PDD, the severity of lesions was also considerably reduced following 84 days of Test Article Administration. On Day 84, no new PDD lesions were observed, and 31(89%) of the 35 lesions observed at the start of testing had resolved completely. Of the four lesions observed on Day 84, two had improved (one from score 3, one from score 2), and two had remained at score 1.
|Category of score||Score||Description of cow behaviour||Suggested action|
Walks with even weight bearing and rhythm on all four feet, with a flat back.
Long, fluid strides possible.
Steps uneven (rhythm or weight bearing) or strides shortened; affected limbs or limbs not immediately identifiable.
Uneven weight bearing on a limb that is immediately identifiable and/or obviously shortened strides (usually with an arch to the centre of the back).
Severely impaired mobility
Unable to walk as fast as a brisk human pace (cannot keep up with the healthy herd) and signs of score 2.