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Farm Animal Practice
Control of digital dermatitis in cattle
  1. Richard Laven

    Richard Laven graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1989. He remained there as a farm animal houseman for a year before moving into mixed practice. For the past three years he has worked as a veterinary research scientist at the ADAS Bridgets Dairy Research Centre, focusing on lameness, mastitis and fertility in cattle.

Abstract

DIGITAL dermatitis is an infectious disease which affects the skin of cattle and is usually seen around the bulbs of the heel. It was first identified almost 30 years ago in Italy, but has since been diagnosed in most of the major cattle-producing countries, including the UK, where it has spread rapidly through the dairy herd. Digital dermatitis is now the most common infectious cause of lameness in the dairy cow and, along with white line disease and sole ulcers, is one of the top three causes of lameness, with over 70 per cent of herds affected. The disease is a major cause of poor welfare and economic loss, and its control should therefore form an integral part of any herd health plan. This article describes the most important elements of a control programme for digital dermatitis.

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