Lactating Holstein-Friesian dairy cows in four separately housed groups in a herd with endemic digital dermatitis (E)D) were monitored weekly for 4 weeks in December 2004 for the presence of and transition between five stages (MO-M4) of DD. Cows were also monitored for the presence of heel horn erosion (HHE) and interdigital hyperplasia. Prior to the study, two groups had been housed indoors on a high or low energy ration, one group had been grazed and one was a dry cow group. All cows received the same ration during the period of investigation. 'Active infection' was defined as transition from M0, M1, M3 or M4 to M2 and 'resolving M2 lesions' were defined as transition from M2 to another stage. M2 lesions were diagnosed on 106 occasions in the hind claws of 49 (36%) of 138 dairy cows; both hind claws were affected in nine cases (18%). M2 lesions were more often painful on palpation than other stages; 94% of M2 lesions were located plantar-medially near the interdigital cleft and 71% had a diameter of 2-4 cm. More M I lesions than other stages were found within the interdigital space. When interdigital hyperplasia was present, claws were always concurrently affected by DD. The baseline incidence for 'active infection' was 6% per week, increasing to 11% when HHE was present, 14% when cows were previously housed indoors and fed a high energy ration and 16% when cows were 60-120 days in lactation. Topical treatment with chlortetracycline resulted in resolution from M2 of 79% per week. There were no significant effects of group, stage of lactation, parity or HHE on resolution of M2 lesions.
Holzhauer, M., Bartels, C. J. M., Dopfer, D., & van Schaik, G. (2008). Clinical course of digital dermatitis lesions in an endemically infected herd without preventive herd strategies. The Veterinary Journal, 177(2), 222-230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2007.05.004