Foot rot is a common issue in cattle, as it’s easy to contract. It’s also easy to misdiagnose; approximately 20 percent of all diagnosed cases of lameness in cattle are actually foot rot. Foot rot can easily pop up in areas, biomes or pastures where the ground is not ideal in texture or moisture level. Today we’ll share research on what exactly causes this condition and how you can prevent it from happening to your cattle. Visit our blog here for more information on caring for your herd. 

What causes foot rot?
Foot rot is an infection caused by a common bacterium. The infection needs a way to get under the skin. Openings are usually caused by rough terrain combined with wet ground, making for the perfect storm for small openings and a breeding ground for bacteria. The first sign of infection is lameness, but the infection causes death or rot to the foot. The skin eventually splits open, revealing a foul-smelling, necrotic inner material of infected tissue.

How is it treated?
Treatment is more successful the earlier it is implemented. First, the area should be cleaned and examined by a veterinarian to determine if the cause of the lameness and swelling is actually foot rot. A topical treatment is usually prescribed, although antibiotics might be needed. The cow should be moved to a dry area while healing. If the infection hasn’t improved within three to four days, contact your veterinarian again, as timeliness is important.

What are the best preventative measures? Cattle are likely to contract this on sharp gravel or other rough rocks and when standing around in congested wet and humid areas, like where the herd has deposited feces. Keeping these areas clean and your pasture smooth are good ways to protect your herd’s hooves. A well-rounded diet is also an important factor in preventing infection.

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