Keep hoof health up to par when temps drop
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Keep hoof health up to par when temps drop

November 24, 2014
POSTED BY: Mike Lormore | DVM, MS, MBA | Director | Cattle Technical Services | Zoetis

Cold weather brings challenges to your dairy that require adjustment. Hoses freeze, calves need blankets, equipment won’t start and, to top it off, your footbath might turn to slush or ice. With all the changes in store because of the chillier temperatures, think about adjustments to hoof health, too.

Research shows lameness can increase during winter months, putting a strain on your workforce and your bottom line.1 These tips can help manage your footbath and hoof health in cold temperatures:

  • Maintain a regular hoof trimming schedule of at least once per lactation.
  • Adjust your footbath schedule with the weather. Increase the number of footbath cleanings in freezing temperatures or consider not running a footbath during subfreezing weather.
  • Keep alleyways and pens clean to avoid excessively dirty feet when footbaths aren’t running and to keep alleyways from freezing.
  • Have employees thoroughly spray hooves with hoses during milkings to help keep feet clean.
  • Consider adding a footbath spray, such as HOOF-TEC Copper-Shot Topical Spray, to help maintain hooves when not running a footbath.
  • Adjust footbath components to include an additive that won’t separate or become ineffective in freezing temperatures. HOOF-TEC 1000 Footbath Concentrate and HOOF-TEC replacement powders can help you run a more efficient footbath by reducing the amount of copper sulfate needed. HOOF-TEC replacement powders dissolve easily in water without separating.

Work with your veterinarian to help assess the best cold weather hoof health management program for your dairy.

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1 Cook, Nigel B. Lameness Treatment Rates in Wisconsin Dairy Herds. http://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/dms/fapm/publicats/posters/LamenessTreatmentRatesinWisconsin.pdf

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