Digital dermatitis, often referred to as hairy heel warts, is a common infectious foot disease in dairy and beef cattle. It is one of the leading causes of lameness in dairy cattle in the United States, with prevalence rates as high as 80%. It often decreases milk production, performance and fertility in dairy cattle.
In beef cattle, lameness can account for 70% of all sales of non-performing cattle. Digital dermatitis has a significant impact on average daily gain and final weight in feedlot cattle.
Each case of digital dermatitis can cost dairy producers approximately $150 to $200 per case in the form of treatment costs and lost production. Feedlot cattle with digital dermatitis may also have approximately 20 less pounds of live weight and eight to 21 pounds less hot carcass weight at harvest. So early detection is vital.
The DD Check App from Zinpro is a data collection tool that can help dairy and beef producers assess whether or not they have a digital dermatitis challenge on their operation and help determine a plan of action. If you have a high level of digital dermatitis, you may need to examine your operation’s hygiene, footbath protocol and biosecurity measures.
The app comes with three main functions:
Accurate identification of each lesion stage is critical to understanding your herd’s disease status. Images and descriptions of lesion stages help beef and dairy producers know what to look for when observing their cattle’s feet and how each stage should be recorded.
Beef and dairy producers can use the app to quickly record the presence of lesions in the various stages of development for each animal. After recording the lesions, the DD Check App can create a list of animals in need of a follow-up based on their history and prognosis for treatment.
Users can access the DD Infection Model to initiate an automated statistical prediction of potential DD outbreaks. Once the disease status is known, immediate action can be taken through an integrated prevention and control strategy.
If you identify a digital dermatitis challenge, or the DD Check App reveals an outbreak is imminent, you have options to control the spread of digital dermatitis in your operation:
Keeping records of digital dermatitis lesions in your herd can help you identify key areas and key times of year you can expect an outbreak to occur. This can help you be proactive in your management strategies and treat cattle early before digital dermatitis spreads. Keeping records can also help you see the results of any changes you have made, such as changing the frequency of your footbath or changing the chemicals you are using.
The DD Check App is free to download on the Apple Store. For more information about how the app can help you control digital dermatitis on your beef or dairy operation, contact your Zinpro representative today.