From Magasinet Kvæg, November 2017 | Text and photo: Claus Solhøj
»For some time, we have not used hoof products, we have tried to trim the hoofs to solve our problems. However, the issue of this solution is that the infection pressure is not addressed. We were therefore on the lookout for a legal hoof care product, which is effective and not killing us«, says cattle farm manger Christian Pedersen, Gjorslev Estate, with a wry smile.
Digital dermatitis was becoming a problem at the Gjorslev Estate with around 30 per cent infected cows, all hoof trimmed, when the problems were their worst in the autumn 2016. And this despite our own hoof trimming box and our standard practice of immediate trimming and treatment at first sign of digital dermatitis.The product that we were looking for turned up in January, as the cattle farm was introduced to Stalosan Hoof, because an employee attended a hoof trimming course with Nynne Capion, associate professor and veterinarian at Københavns Universitet (University of Copenhagen).
We started to use the product in mid-January and today, nine months later, the effect is convincing: The number of infected cows in our herd has decreased from around 30 to 3-5 per cent since we started to use Stalosan Hoof.
In the first month alone the number of infected cows was reduced by half.
»Normally I approach wonder products with scepticism, but this product is really working. Furthermore, it is very easy to use. We do not have to dissolve it, we do not need to wash the hooves, we just have to pour it into a knapsack pump and spray the hooves«, Christian Pedersen explains.
During the visit from the Danish trade publication KVÆG (cattle) he only has two cows with bandaging. Stalosan Hoof can be used in hoof baths or in spraying devices, and Christian Pedersen has chosen the second solution, because spraying is a less complicated method ensuring that it will be carried out.
Once a week the employee, who is carrying out teat dip, is spraying all lactating cows at the end of milking in the rotary milking parlour, where the cows are standing on an elevated dry platform.
The product has no restriction on use in relation to the milk, so basically Stalosan Hoof could also be sprayed on before milking.
An increased effect against new formations could also be obtained by using hoof baths, but this would require a hoof mat to ensure the effect. For use in hoof baths you need 30 litres for 300 cows, and the effect is not decreasing due to the pollution of the water during the hoof bath.
"This product is really working. Furthermore, it is very easy to use. We do not have to dissolve it, we do not need to wash the hooves, we just pour it into a knapsack pump and spray the hooves."
The price is Euro 4.67 per year cow when using the recommended treatment twice weekly, and approx. half the price at Gjorslev, because they only have one weekly treatment.
At Gjorslev Estate new formations are discovered very fast in the dairy barn either because of the cows’ behaviour or by the activity meters on the cows’ hind legs. These cows are then separated out at the next milking and guided into the hoof box, where they are applied a bandage with salicylic acid. At Gjorslev we also treat dry cows and heifers with Stalosan Hoof resulting in a distinct drop in incidences.
»When a high infection pressure exists among the cows, it is almost impossible to avoid spreading the infection to the heifers«, Christian Pedersen explains.
Stalosan Hoof works in a different way than other hoof care products and hoof disinfectants, because to put it simple the purpose is not to kill something, but to leave the wound in peace to heal by desiccating and cutting off outside influences from the barn environment.
The product is extremely desiccating and forms a membrane of minerals and salts on and around the wound. Desiccation neutralizes the bacterial growth in wounds and thus advancing wound healing and wound crust formation whereas the membrane is cutting off and protecting.
Furthermore, Stalosan Hoof has a low pH, normally pH is high in a barn environment because of ammonia. Washing before spraying or hoof bath is merely diluting the product and thus decreasing the effect.
»We have obtained an overall improved hoof health, and the locomotion score in our cows is much better. Typically, our experience is that the wounds are closing in the healing period and over time they fade. We have not seen any results in yield, but this could have to do with the fact that in this period, we have made other measures too«, Christian Pedersen explains. He is also very pleased that they have got rid of the characteristic smell associated with digital dermatitis during milking.
»I do not believe that we are able to reduce our current level further, because the infection is present. But we can control it«, he concludes.