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Relun A.,UMT Cattle Herd Health Control | Relun A.,French Livestock Institute | Relun A.,University of Nantes | Relun A.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2012

A controlled field trial was conducted to evaluate in dairy cattle the benefit provided by different regimens of a collective topical treatment using a solution of copper and zinc chelates to cure digital dermatitis (DD) compared with individual treatment alone, and further to investigate factors that could explain variations in the clinical cure of DD lesions over 6. mo. The study was conducted between November 2009 and October 2010 and involved 4,677 dairy cows from 52 French dairy farms on which DD was endemic. The farms were quasi-randomly allocated to 1 of 4 treatment regimens for 6. mo: no collective treatment (control), walk-through footbath during 4 consecutive milkings every 4 wk (FB/4W) or every 2 wk (FB/2W) and collective spraying during 2 milkings every 2 wk (CS/2W). For ethical and welfare reasons, all farmers also had to treat all detected active DD lesions with individual topical spraying of oxytetracycline. Digital dermatitis and leg hygiene were scored on all lactating cows during milking 7 times every 4 wk by 14 trained investigators. During these farm visits, data related to farm management were also collected. The curative effectiveness of collective treatments was assessed through a Cox survival frailty model as the probability of cure of an active DD lesion during at least 2 consecutive visits. The model was adjusted for farm and cow risk factors as well as initial DD prevalence. Monthly DD cure rates were 58, 55, 76, and 76% in the control, FB/4W, FB/2W, and CS/2W regimens, respectively. The spontaneous monthly cure rate for untreated active DD lesions was 61%. Hazard of cure of DD was increased by 1.28 and 1.41 when walk-through footbath and collective spraying, respectively, were applied over 2 d every 2 wk compared with the control regimen. Applying a walk-through footbath 2 d every 4 wk was not sufficient to improve the cure of DD compared with individual treatments alone. Three main factors were identified as speeding DD healing: cleanliness of the feet, initial small size of the DD lesion, and additional individual topical treatment. Grazing tended to speed DD healing. These results highlight the need of combining several control measures, including individual and collective topical treatments, and improving foot hygiene and the early detection of DD lesions to ensure a high cure rate and rapid curing of digital dermatitis on endemically affected farms. © 2012 American Dairy Science Association.


Relun A.,UMT Cattle Herd Health Control | Relun A.,Livestock Institute | Relun A.,College de France | Relun A.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2011

The diagnosis of digital dermatitis (DD) in cows is crucial for researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of control measures. The objective of this study was to evaluate intra- and inter-observer agreement and accuracy of a simple method to score DD lesions that is based on the inspection of cleaned feet in the milking parlor with a swiveling mirror and a powerful headlamp. The hind feet of 242 Holstein cows from 4 farms were inspected concurrently by 5 observers (to assess inter-observer agreement) during 2 consecutive milkings (to assess intra-observer agreement). This inspection was followed by an inspection of the feet in a trimming chute, considered to be the gold standard test, to test for accuracy. The reliability of the method was assessed using both the 5 M-stages scoring system (M0 to M4, M standing for Mortellaro) and a simplified M-stages scoring system in which the M3 and M4 stages are merged. As most disagreements concerned the M3 and M4 stages, performance was improved with the simplified M-stages scoring system. With this simplified system, the method had good intra-observer agreement [percent of overall raw agreement (PA)=80%, weighted kappa (κ w)=0.71, and good inter-observer agreement (PA=77%, κ w=0.66)]. The agreement with the gold standard test was moderate (PA=69%, κ w=0.58). Considering absence versus presence of a DD lesion on a foot, the method had good sensitivity (0.90) and specificity (0.80). The time spent for inspection varied from 30 to 60s per cow. Inspection of cleaned feet with a swiveling mirror and a powerful headlamp in the milking parlor is a reliable, cost- and time-friendly method, which may be useful for both farmers and researchers, especially when the DD status of many dairy cows has to be evaluated concomitantly. The reliability of this method might be improved by using more precise descriptive criteria for the discrimination of each M-stage. © 2011 American Dairy Science Association.

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