• Questions have risen on impact of many hoofbath chemicals on human health and the environment, and also concerns about water usage.
• Topical spray disinfectant solutions are an interesting alternative to hoofbaths because they address those concerns.
• While 1 L/cow disinfecting solution is standard recommendation in a hoofbath treatment, only 50 mL/cow would be required if spraying.
• This study evaluated the preventive efficacy of a disinfecting solution against infectious foot problems when spraying hooves in the parlor, compared to a negative control.
Materials and methods
• A 3 month trial was conducted in a pasture-based dairy in the Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.
• Prior to the trial the farm utilized antibiotics and trimming to manage infectious hoof diseases.
• 251 cows were scored monthly for hoof lesions. Animals diagnosed with an active infectious disease treated with antibiotics by the farm veterinarian advisor until healing. Thus lesions scored in the following visits were considered new infections.
• A quaternary-ammonium based hoof disinfectant (QUAT) at a 5% dilution was sprayed at every milking (2x/day) on the right-hind leg. Left-hind legs remained untreated as control group (NEG).
• Trial data were analyzed using PROC GENMOD of SAS® 9.4. The outcome variables were new digital dermatitis (DD) or interdigital dermatitis (IDD) lesions.
• A total of 1,720 observations were analyzed.
• Total precipitation during the study period was 55 mm.
• Prevalence of infectious foot problems was low, averaging 1.3% for DD and 0.9% for IDD.
• There were less new DD cases in QUAT (n = 8) compared to NEG (n = 13), but differences were not significant (P=0.28) (Figure 1).
• There was a lower prevalence of IDD in QUAT (n = 1) compared to NEG (n = 11) (P=0.02) (Figure 2).
• Prevalence levels of infectious hoof diseases were low in the study herd.
• A positive effect of spraying hooves with a quaternary ammonium-based disinfectant was observed for both DD and IDD management.
• Spraying hooves with an effective disinfecting solution during milking provides beneficial effects on cow health, improved water management and reduced environmental impact of hazardous chemicals.