Objectives and design This trial evaluated the effect of bandaging of acute painful ulcerative bovine digital dermatitis (DD) lesion (stage M2) in dairy cows, tested using two different topical treatments.
Design Randomised clinical trial.
Setting This study was conducted using Holstein-Friesian cows ranging in age from heifers to fourth lactation in a single dairy herd and diagnosed with acute ulcerative DD lesions (stage M2) on the first examination (week 0). Cows were randomly assigned into either a non-bandaged or bandaged group across two treatment conditions: topical chlortetracycline spray (CTC) and Intra Hoof-Fit Gel (IHF). Lesions received standardised bandaging and treatment on a weekly basis. Unhealed lesions could receive up to five repeated treatments, at weekly intervals, within a four-week period. Both M-stage and locomotion were also evaluated and scored weekly. Cows with healthily formed skin (stage M0) were deemed healed and subsequently released from the study.
Results In total, 163 M2 lesions were diagnosed at week 0. Bandaged M2 lesions had a significantly higher probability of cure than non-bandaged lesions regardless of treatment type (HR: 4.1; P<0.001; 95 per cent CI: 2.5 to 6.8). Most healing occurred within the first three weeks of trial. Furthermore, bandaged lesions (group 2 and group 4) were significantly less likely to progress into the chronic hyperkeratotic or proliferative stage (M4) than non-bandaged lesions in group 1 and group 3 (HR: 0.10; P<0.001; 95 per cent CI: 0.04 to 0.22). Out of concern for the cow’s wellbeing, this study investigated the effects of bandaging on locomotion. Bandaging had no effect on locomotion for either cows treated with CTC (group 1: median Sprecher score, 2; IQR=1–2; group 2: median Sprecher score, 2; IQR=1–3; P=0.3) or IHF (group 3: median Sprecher score, 2; IQR=1–2; group 4: median Sprecher score, 2; IQR=1–3; P=0.3).