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Frequency of copper sulphate footbathing in dairy cattle with digital dermatitis

Clinical Scenario

You have just been involved with a practice meeting for farmers about lameness in cattle. This led to a discussion about the treatment of digital dermatitis on farms where it is endemic. It is clear that farmers are using all different kinds of foot bathing protocols and solutions. One of the most common footbath treatments appears to be copper sulphate but frequency with which they used it varied widely and has considerable cost implications for some farmers. You wonder if the frequency of foot bathing has any affect on the clinical burden of disease...

3-Part Question (PICO)

In [dairy cows with digital dermatitis] does [increasing the frequency of foot bathing with copper sulphate from every 4 weeks to every 2 weeks] [increase the clinical cure rate]?

Search Strategy and Summary of Evidence

Search Strategy

MEDLINE(R) In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and MEDLINE(R) 1946 to Present using the OVID interface

(cow.mp. OR cows.mp. OR cattle.mp. OR bovine.mp. OR bovines.mp. OR exp Cattle/)

AND

(digital dermatitis.mp. OR mortellaro.mp. OR dermatitis digitalis.mp. OR dd.mp. OR exp Digital Dermatitis/)

AND

(copper sulphate.mp. OR copper sulfate.mp. OR footbath*.mp. OR foot bath*.mp. OR footdip*.mp. OR foot dip*.mp. OR exp Copper Sulfate/)

CAB Abstracts 1910 to Present using the OVID interface

(cow.mp. OR cows.mp OR cattle.mp. OR bovine.mp. OR bovines.mp. OR exp cows/ OR exp cattle/)

AND

(digital dermatitis.mp. OR mortellaro.mp. OR dermatitis digitalis.mp. OR dd.mp)

AND

(copper sulphate.mp. OR copper sulfate.mp. OR footbath*.mp. OR foot bath*.mp. OR footdip*.mp. OR foot dip*.mp. OR exp copper sulfate/)

Search Outcome

MEDLINE

  • 36 papers found in MEDLINE search
  • 35 papers excluded as they don't meet the PICO question
  • 0 papers excluded as they are in a foreign language
  • 1 papers excluded as they are review articles/in vitro research/conference proceedings
  • 1 total relevant papers from MEDLINE

CAB Abstracts

  • 102 papers found in CAB search
  • 98 papers excluded as they don't meet the PICO question
  • 0 papers excluded as they are in a foreign language
  • 3 papers excluded as they are review articles/in vitro research/conference proceedings
  • 1 total relevant papers from CAB

Total relevant papers

1 relevant papers from both MEDLINE and CAB Abstracts

Summary of Evidence

Speijers et al. (2012) USA

Title:

Effectiveness of different footbathing frequencies using copper sulfate in the control of digital dermatitis in dairy cows.

Patient group:

Dairy cows with digital dermatitis

Study Type:

Randomised controlled trial

Outcomes:
  • Lameness according to the Dopfer scale
  • Progression of digital dermatitis lesions
Key Results:
  • In high prevalence cows, weekly footbathing led to quicker resolution of lesions than fortnightly bathing
  • In low prevalence cows, there does not appear to be a difference between fortnightly and monthly footbathing, although the results are unclear (see below)
  • Footbathing does not prevent new or recurring infections, but allows for control rather than elimination
Study Weaknesses:
  • Non-random sampling
  • High prevalence and low prevalence cows kept on same farm but treated as separate groups
  • No sample size, and small numbers in groups
  • 20 cows were excluded from the various experiments, but it isn’t clear which treatment groups these were from and this could be a source of bias
  • No blinding or randomisation
  • Fortnightly versus monthly bathing only studied in low prevalence cows
  • Other measures such as lameness and yield not considered
Attachment:
No attachments.

Comments

The evidence on fortnightly versus monthly footbathing is difficult to interpret. The results state that no difference was seen. However, in the discussion it states that the Monte Carlo MC models predict that the higher frequency regime is better—as this is not in the results it is difficult to interpret.

Bottom line

In cows with low prevalence of digital dermatitis lesions, there is some evidence to suggest that footbathing intervals may be extended from fortnightly to monthly. However, the evidence is weak, and most herds will have a mixture of cows, so the application of these results in the field may be limited. In herds with a high prevalence of digital dermatitis, these results suggest that more frequent footbathing may be indicated (although this paper only compares weekly vs fortnightly in high prevalence cows).

Disclaimer

The BETs on this website are a summary of the evidence found on a topic and are not clinical guidelines. It is the responsibility of the individual veterinary surgeon to ensure appropriate decisions are made based on the specific circumstances of patients under their care, taking into account other factors such as local licensing regulations. Read small print

References

Speijers MH, Finney GA, McBride J, Watson S, Logue DN, O'Connell NE (2012) Effectiveness of different footbathing frequencies using copper sulfate in the control of digital dermatitis in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 95: 2955-2964.

About this BET

First author:
Jenny Stavisky
Second author:
Marnie Brennan
Institution:

CEVM, University of Nottingham

Search last performed:
2016-06-14 16:35:25
Original publication date:
2013-09-13 16:35:25
Last updated:
2016-06-14 16:35:25
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