The footbathing of cows is an important measure to prevent certain types of lameness from occurring in your herd.
The main purpose of footbathing cows is to prevent and control infectious foot diseases.
In herd, where issues such as digital dermatitis are present, an effective footbathing programme will help to control chronic lesions from becoming active.
To determine how often footbathing should be take place on your farm, you should consult with your vet and or hoof trimmer.
Certain factors on your farm might mean that cows need to walk through a solution on a fairly regular basis. The presence of digital dermatitis within the herd may be one such factor.
They will also be able to give you some guidance with regard to which products you should be using.
Factors to consider
Footbathing is a whole-herd approach, rather than trying to work individually with every cow.
The design, location and management of the footbath are all more important considerations – along with the solution selected.
But there are also another number of considerations to be factored in by farmers when footbathing cows. Good cow flow through the bath is important as it ensures better contact time, and that the solution makes contact with the right parts of the cows’ feet.
Your footbath solution must cover the skin above the hoof, including that at the front of the foot – so a depth of 12cm and at least 3m long is advised.
This is because two foot ‘dunks’ are generally better than one, so having a footbath at least 3m long means every foot is dunked at least twice.
How clean cows’ feet are entering the bath will also have an impact on the amount of contact time. Excess dirt should be removed from cows’ feet before they enter a footbath.
Getting these small things correct will increase the effectiveness of the solution and ultimately should improve cow foot health.