Dave Barz: Foot rot and lameness issues | TSLN.com

Dave Barz: Foot rot and lameness issues

Dave Barz, DVM

For the October 9, 2010 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

The great fall weather has finally come and the harvest has begun. So far the yields seem good and grain is relatively dry. The only problem is the low spots. It doesn’t take much to get stuck. This week I treated several toe abscesses at a local feedlot. The wet conditions and abrasions to the feet potentiate these problems as well as common foot rot.

Foot rot has been a problem for many years in the cattle industry. The organisms which cause it are common in the environment but generally cause no problems until there is an injury or abrasion on the foot. In the past, producers have been told to keep pens and water and feeding areas free of sharp objects which may injure the foot. Early detection of problems usually leads to a successful treatment using injectable antibiotics approved for foot rot treatment.

If the problem becomes common, you may be forced to devise a prevention program. Most of the early programs involved feeding tetracycline and were relatively successful. As we added rumensin to rations, we used tylan to prevent liver abscesses. This also helped limit the cases of foot rot.

Ration management is also important in controlling foot rot. If you “cool off” your finishing ration, remove high-energy portions and add more roughage, you will decrease your problems. Some nutritionists believe lowering the calcium in the ration will also help reduce problems. Ethylene diamine dihydro-iodine (EDDI), an organic iodine product, has been successful in prevention and treatment, but the FDA now limits its use to a low-level trace mineral. Now it can only be purchased in milled feeds at the low-level, limiting its effectiveness.

Zinc methionine (Zinpro) is used in many growing and finishing rations not only to supply zinc, but to aid in control of foot and leg problems. This product is called a “metal amino acid complex” by the FDA. The suggested feeding rate is 360 milligrams (mg) of zinc per day coming from Zinpro. The absorption and utilization of the zinc is increased by the addition to the methionine radical. It is generally included in trace mineral formulations.

Toe abscesses on animals are a result of abrasions to the toes and soles of the feet (usually hinds) from paddling in alleyways and chutes. Sometimes these occur on many animals after new concrete is poured in an alley. Many of my clients believe these are directly proportional to the wildness of the calves (more fright and fight yields more lamenesses). The last lot of calves I treated was so wild they would actually charge you after the came out of the chute. There is no doubt how they injured themselves. To treat them we trim the tip of the toe to relieve the pressure and cover with suitable antibiotics.

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Lameness is a common problem in the pastures and feedlots in our area. Some herds have reverted to vaccination for infectious foot rot attempting to minimize problems. Most are trying to limit areas of mud and water which become abrasive areas when they dry or freeze. We try to avoid prolonged feeding of antibiotics, but strongly recommend mineral protocols utilizing preventive strategies. Consult your veterinarian, nutritionist or extension specialist to minimize lameness in your herd or feedlot. It will increase the gains in your feedlot and minimize early culling for lameness in your breeding herd.

The great fall weather has finally come and the harvest has begun. So far the yields seem good and grain is relatively dry. The only problem is the low spots. It doesn’t take much to get stuck. This week I treated several toe abscesses at a local feedlot. The wet conditions and abrasions to the feet potentiate these problems as well as common foot rot.

Foot rot has been a problem for many years in the cattle industry. The organisms which cause it are common in the environment but generally cause no problems until there is an injury or abrasion on the foot. In the past, producers have been told to keep pens and water and feeding areas free of sharp objects which may injure the foot. Early detection of problems usually leads to a successful treatment using injectable antibiotics approved for foot rot treatment.

If the problem becomes common, you may be forced to devise a prevention program. Most of the early programs involved feeding tetracycline and were relatively successful. As we added rumensin to rations, we used tylan to prevent liver abscesses. This also helped limit the cases of foot rot.

Ration management is also important in controlling foot rot. If you “cool off” your finishing ration, remove high-energy portions and add more roughage, you will decrease your problems. Some nutritionists believe lowering the calcium in the ration will also help reduce problems. Ethylene diamine dihydro-iodine (EDDI), an organic iodine product, has been successful in prevention and treatment, but the FDA now limits its use to a low-level trace mineral. Now it can only be purchased in milled feeds at the low-level, limiting its effectiveness.

Zinc methionine (Zinpro) is used in many growing and finishing rations not only to supply zinc, but to aid in control of foot and leg problems. This product is called a “metal amino acid complex” by the FDA. The suggested feeding rate is 360 milligrams (mg) of zinc per day coming from Zinpro. The absorption and utilization of the zinc is increased by the addition to the methionine radical. It is generally included in trace mineral formulations.

Toe abscesses on animals are a result of abrasions to the toes and soles of the feet (usually hinds) from paddling in alleyways and chutes. Sometimes these occur on many animals after new concrete is poured in an alley. Many of my clients believe these are directly proportional to the wildness of the calves (more fright and fight yields more lamenesses). The last lot of calves I treated was so wild they would actually charge you after the came out of the chute. There is no doubt how they injured themselves. To treat them we trim the tip of the toe to relieve the pressure and cover with suitable antibiotics.

Lameness is a common problem in the pastures and feedlots in our area. Some herds have reverted to vaccination for infectious foot rot attempting to minimize problems. Most are trying to limit areas of mud and water which become abrasive areas when they dry or freeze. We try to avoid prolonged feeding of antibiotics, but strongly recommend mineral protocols utilizing preventive strategies. Consult your veterinarian, nutritionist or extension specialist to minimize lameness in your herd or feedlot. It will increase the gains in your feedlot and minimize early culling for lameness in your breeding herd.

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