A previous post described the effective treatment of digital dermatitis (DD) in the milking parlour after detecting DD lesions using a mirror and headlamp. In that study, hooves were initially washed with a high pressure spray before examination.
Farmers may be reluctant to spray hooves in the parlour, since it can require extra labour, cause minor discomfort to cows, and potentially compromise udder hygiene. With these issues in mind, Danish researchers asked, “Can digital dermatitis be detected in the milking parlour without washing cows’ feet?”. To answer the question, a total of 4,510 cows from 22 dairy herds were scored for DD in the milking parlour with and without washing their hind feet.
The graph below illustrates the results of the study. Although the two methods were highly correlated (r =0.987, P < 0.001), scoring with washing resulted in a median of 32% more detected DD cases, even with a large variation in DD prevalence between herds. The authors conclude that DD detection without washing cows’ feet is significantly less effective in detecting DD lesions.
source: V. H. S. Oliveira et al., Research in Veterinary Science 115:325 (2017) full article is here