LAWTON, OK (TNN) - Lately, not only has it been cold, but it has also been wet... the perfect conditions to cause foot rot in cattle.
“Foot rot’s caused by a bacteria, and it’s carried in the fecal matter from cattle," said Dr. Larry Chambers of Chambers Veterinary Clinic. "So, when you get the wet rainy season like this, their feet will get a little inflamed, or a little irritated. It allows that bacteria to enter into their feet, mainly between the toes, it’ll enter in.”
Dr. Chambers said you will know quickly if your cattle has contracted the disease.
“When you get foot rot, it’s actually like an infection in your fingernail, or toenail. It’s going to throb," said Dr. Chambers. "So, it gets into the hoof wall and it gets very throbby, and that’s why you see it so fast.”
Dr. Chambers said there will be a drastic change in the animal’s behavior.
“You’ll notice that they don’t want to come to the feed, and you’ll notice that they’re laying down and when they get up, you’ll notice that they’re limping. And yesterday they were just fine,” said Dr. Chambers.
Symptoms of foot rot can start in less than 24 hours.
“The foot begins to swell, or you see lameness, and then you look at it and make sure there’s not a foreign object in the foot,” said Dr. Chambers.
If the animal gets infected, the pasture it is grazing in will get infected, too. The bacteria is found in fecal matter and is soaked into the soil. Substantial rainfall causes it to resurface, and it is then spread by cattle walking from one pasture to the next.
“As far as I know, there’s nothing that can get foot rot out of a pasture,” said Dr. Chambers.
People can unknowingly spread the disease, as well.
“Humans can be a big part of this," said Dr. Chambers. "When you shovel manure and spread it on your pasture, or you drive across it with a tire, your vehicle, you go from one pasture to the next.”
There are some things you can do to prevent your animals from contracting the disease.
“Keep the area clean of fecal matter," said Dr. Chambers. "If you’re on concrete, sometimes you want to Clorox that or some antiseptic, and then also there’s vaccines for prevention for foot rot, which is pretty cool. And also, you can add some feet additives, like zinc or iodine to the feet.”
The sooner you notice foot rot, the easier it is to treat with an antibiotic.
“It appears quickly and you get it taken care of quickly, it’ll go away quickly. The longer you wait, the less likelihood of you to get the animal well.”
Do not worry about the meat you consume being harmful. Dr. Chambers said after the animal goes through 30 days of antibiotic treatment and is cleared of the disease, the meat is safe to eat.