According to NADIS data foul-in-the-foot has caused a high percentage of lameness in youngstock this winter and on some farms "superfoul" has been reported.
Foul-in-the-foot is an infection found between the digits caused by a combination of two bacteria, which are normally present in the cow's environment. These bacteria invade through damaged hoof skin causing severe pain, swelling, and lameness. Superfoul is probably a very severe form of foul, in which the damaged area of skin rapidly increases in size and depth such that infection of the bones of the hoof is common.
Superfoul may also be linked to digital dermatitis. Indeed most cases are seen on farms with digital dermatitis, and the spiral bacteria linked to digital dermatitis are often found in cases of superfoul.
Environmental hygiene and footbathing are the main control measures
1) Keep cattle feet as clean as possible
2) Improve walkways and tracks. A good walkway need only be one cow wide
3) Fill-in muddy and stony areas around troughs and gateways
4) In housing, ensure no pooling of slurry. Scrape efficiently and at least twice a day
5) Use copper sulphate or formalin foot-baths routinely, up to twice daily if there is a significant problem. Get your vet to advise you on the best regime
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