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Digital dermatitis (DD) is an infectious claw disease that causes lameness among cows worldwide.
Efforts to eradicate DD have been overly focused on treatment and less so on standardized
maintance practices, like bandaging, to enhance the effects of treatment. In an attempt to examine
the role of bandaging in the treatment of DD, this study has examined the effect of bandaging on
wound size and locomotion among a sample of dairy cows receiving either antibiotic or nonantibiotic
Materials and Methods
This randomized clinical trial study included (n=162) Holstein Friesian dairy cows, diagnosed with
ulcerative DD lesions (M2) upon the first examination (week 0). Cows, ranging from heifers to cows in
their 4th lactation, were housed in a stable fitted with cubicles and with concrete flooring.
Treatment and Evaluation
All hoofs were cleaned and trimmed by a professional hoof trimmer or a veterinarian. The M2 lesions
of cows in the first part of the study (n=85) were sprayed with CTC, a topical treatment containing
chlortetracycline (WdT, Garbsen, Germany). Cows were then randomly assigned into either a nonbandaged
(n=41, 48%, Group1) or bandaged group (n=44, 52%, Group 2). A topical non‐antibiotic gel,
containing activated copper and zinc chelate (Intra Hoof‐fit gel [IHF], intra Care b.v), was applied to
the M2 lesions of cows in the second part of the study (n=78). Cows were then randomly assigned
into either a non‐bandaged (n=40, 51%, Group 3) or bandaged group (n=38, 49%, Group 4). The
bandaging process was standardized and applied by the same veterinarian for all groups. The process
of wound healing was evaluated and scored once weekly (weeks 0, 1, 2, 3, 4) according to a visual
inspection scheme described by Döpfer et al., 1997 and Berry et al., 2012. Photographs of lesions
were taken and later, under the use of a special software package (Jalomed®), were used to track
lesion size across observations. The healthy formed skin (M0) was judged as full recovery.
Locomotion was also evaluated and scored weekly according to Sprecher et al., (1997) locomotion
A Survival Analysis concluded that healing was significantly higher for bandaged than non‐bandaged
cows following topical CTC treatment (Z = 4.653, p<0.001, 95% CI: 2.19 to 6.84). Furthermore,
bandaged lesions were significantly less likely to transition into M4 lesions, the chronic DD (p<0.001).
A Survival Analysis indicated that healing was significantly higher for bandaged than non‐bandaged
cows following topical non‐antibiotic treatment with IHF (Z=3.352, p<0.001, 95% CI: 1.627 to 6.403).
Moreover, bandaged lesions were significantly less likely to transition into M4 lesions, the chronic DD
(p<0.001). A Wilcoxon Rank Sums Test indicated that bandaging had no effect on locomotion for
either cows treated with CTC (W = 13601, p<0.27, CI: ‐4.58e‐05 to 1.77e‐05) or IHF (W = 14369,
p<0.332, CI: 4.02e‐05 to 5.77e‐05). However, wound size was significantly larger for cows with
locomotion scores between 3 and 5 than for cows with lower scores for both CTC (W = 8621,
p<0.019, 95% CI: ‐2.08 to ‐0.03) and IHF treatment groups (W = 8051, p<0.001, 95% CI: ‐2.53 to ‐
Results suggest that bandaging accelerated the healing of DD lesions, regardless of treatment type.
Bandaged lesions were significantly less likely to develop into stage M4, the chronic stage of DD.
Thus, our study indicates that covering DD lesions is advantageous to both the wound healing
process and the cow’s wellbeing.
BERRY, S. L., et al. (2012). Long‐term observations on the dynamics of bovine digital dermatitis
lesions on a California dairy after topical treatment with lincomycin HCl. The Veterinary Journal
DÖFER, D., TER HUURNE, A. A. H. M., CORNELISSE, J. L., VAN ASTEN; A. J. A. M., KOOPMANS, A.,
MEIJER, F. A., BOSMA, R. B. (1997). Histological and bacteriological evaluation of digital dermatitis in
cattle, with special reference to spirochaetes and Campylobacter faecalis. Veterinary Record,
SPRECHER, D. J., HOSTETLER, D. E., & KANEENE, J. B. (1997). A lameness scoring system that uses
posture and gait to predict dairy cattle reproductive performance. Theriogenology, 47(6), 1179‐1187.
Key words: Digital Dermatitis, Bandaging, Healing process, Intra Hoof‐fit gel, chlortetracycline