Whether to bandage or not to bandage after treating digital dematitis (DD) lesions remains controversial. Among hoof trimmers, the most common belief seems to be that bandaging is beneficial as long as the bandage is removed after a few days. The rationale is that leaving it on any longer maintains an anaerobic environment on the skin surface, facilitating the growth of the bacteria that caused DD (treponemes). However, results of a study reported at the 2017 Conference on Lameness in Ruminants indicate that bandaging improved DD cure rates.
The study involved 162 first to fourth lactation Holstein-Friesian cows housed in a freestall barn. One of 4 treatments was randomly assigned to each cow when she was first diagnosed with an ulcerative (M2-stage) DD lesion. Treatments and results are summarized in the following table.
|Treatment Group||Treatment||No. of Lesions Treated||No. of Lesions Healed||Cure Rate, %|
|Group 2||CTC + bandage||44||38||86.4|
|Group 4||IHF + bandage||38||27||71.1|
DD lesions in cow treatment groups 1 and 2 were treated with a topical spray containing chlortetracycline (CTC). After CTC treatment, lesions in group 1 cows were left unbandaged; those in group 2 cows were bandaged and bandages were maintained for 4 weeks.
DD lesions in cow treatment groups 3 and 4 were treated with a topical non‐antibiotic gel, containing activated copper and zinc chelate (Intra Hoof‐fit gel [IHF], IntraCare b.v). After CTC treatment, lesions in group 3 cows were left unbandaged; those in group 4 cows were bandaged and bandages were maintained for 4 weeks.
Wound healing was evaluated and scored once weekly for 4 weeks. A cure was declared when the lesion was replaced by healthy skin (M0-stage). Results suggest that bandaging accelerated the healing of DD lesions, regardless of treatment type (antibiotic or non-antibiotic). Bandaged lesions were also significantly less likely to develop into the chronic stage of DD (M4).
source: M. Klawitter et al., Proceedings of the 19th International Symposium and 11th Conference on Lameness in Ruminants, p. 48 (2017). original article is here.