A new study has highlighted the benefits of using ketoprofen for the treatment of pain and lameness associated with digital dermatitis (DD) in cattle.
Lameness is one of the most significant problems facing the dairy industry worldwide, having a major impact on cattle welfare, health and production, leading to substantial economic losses (Willshire and Bell, 2009; An economic review of cattle lameness). Lameness has been associated with reduced milk yield, mastitis and infertility, and has been reported to be prevalent in dairy herds in Europe and North America.
Within the UK, the mean herd lameness prevalence was recently found to be 30.1 percent. Digital dermatitis is one of the most frequently recorded diseases associated with lameness in dairy cattle.
During the study, 158 cows presented with active DD (M1, M2 or M4.1 stage) and were randomly allocated to either the control or the (ketoprofen) treatment group. All cows were treated with a topical application of oxytetracycline spray. The treatment group also received an intramuscular injection of Ketofen 10 percent solution for injection (ketoprofen 3mg/kg). Cows were mobility scored just before they were treated and then again one week later.
The results indicated that animals in the control group were 2.57 times more likely to be lame at the second evaluation compared to those that received Ketofen, however cows that were lame in the control group prior to treatment and did not receive Ketofen were over 20 times more likely to remain lame a week post-treatment compared to cows that did receive Ketofen.
Interestingly, this same study showed a milk yield benefit overall: treated cows produced 2.98 kg more milk than control cows (T = 45.35, C = 42.37, p<0.01). When only lame fresh cows were considered, there was a 10.49kg increase in milk yield (T = 58.38, C = 47.89, p<0.05).
Nick Bell, MA, VetMB, PhD, PGCert Vet Ed, FHEA, DipECAWBM(AWSEL), MRCVS, veterinary surgeon and director of Herd Health Consultancy, comments: “We’ve widely recognised the importance of NSAIDs for treating claw lesions, which are primarily inflammatory conditions, but this study is the first real insight into how important NSAIDs are for any lesion, including digital dermatitis, particularly if the cow is showing signs of lameness.
“This research provides a clear welfare justification for giving NSAIDs to dairy cows with active digital dermatitis lesions, with significant milk yield benefits.”
“While it is recognised that some stages of digital dermatitis are painful, there has been little research to determine the value of including analgesia in the treatment of the condition,” adds Katherine Timms, BVetMed(Hons), MRCVS, ruminant veterinary advisor at Ceva Animal Health. “This study suggests that the use of Ketofen in the treatment of pain and lameness associated with active digital dermatitis lesions may be beneficial for animal welfare as it is associated with an improvement in mobility scores.”
For further information on the study visit the study on the BVA Journals website. For information on Ketofen contact your local Ceva account manager or call 01494 781510.