Giving foot rot the boot

Giving foot rot the boot

Flooding causes many problems for cattle. One of them can be foot rot.

Damage to soft parts of the foot (or hoof) — like skin softened by exposure to water or mud — allows bacteria to invade, multiply and release toxins. Both claws on a foot often become infected, causing redness and swelling. The foot is warm to the touch and has a foul odor.

The first obvious sign of foot rot is lameness secondary to pain. Affected cattle may develop a fever and are reluctant to move or eat. Without attention, the foot may become permanently damaged.

Treatment involves cleaning out damaged tissue between the claws and administering antibiotics (locally and systemically). Just as importantly, any animal with foot rot is separated from others, because the condition is very contagious.

By recognizing the initial signs, timely treatment can help cattle make a full recovery.

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