Foot Bathing

Footbathing is an important part of the management and control of lameness – particularly digital dermatitis and slurry heel. Foot baths are best situated near the parlour exit – far enough not to reduce flow of cows.

Two baths are ideally required, the first for washing the feet and the second to apply the treatment. Foot baths may be concrete or plastic, they should be easy to set-up and clean out and near water and drainage. Some authorities recommend straw in first bath to produce better cleaning. If there is only one bath available then the feet should be power washed in the parlour before the cows leave.

Foot bath requirements:

  • Min. length 3 m, depth 20 cm
  • Flush to wall or rails of race
  • Non-slip floor, + ridges along long axis?
  • Standing room beyond bath

It is important to stick to a routine and locomotion score regularly.

The most common ingredients used in cattle footbaths contain one or more of the following chemicals:

1. Copper sulphate, 2.5% to 12.5%

  • Proven efficacy
  • Can be expensive
  • Easy to use
  • Disposal is a serious environmental concern

2. New Copper Sulphate delivery system. HEALTHY HOOVES.

  • Reduces the copper sulphate used by 70%
  • Reduces the cost
  • More effective control of Digital Dermatitis
  • See our fact sheet (this links to fact sheet attached)
  • Link to Healthy hooves Web site
  • Three Rivers Veterinary Group are stockists for Healthy Hooves products

3. Antibiotics

  • Expensive and not recommended from a farm assurance point of view
  • Only used in extreme circumstances
  • Withdrawal period issues

4. Organic acids:

  • Have an antibacterial effect
  • Can be used with copper sulphate to prevent binding of copper sulphate by organic material on the foot

5. Zinc sulphate:

  • Usually used in combination with copper
  • Good for healthy hoof horn