(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey, folks. Dr. Dan here. Thanks for joining me on DocTalk today. We’re going to have a great show. Dr. Shane Terrell from Production Animal Consultation is going to be here to talk about different chute side diagnostics that we can do to determine the lameness of cattle in your feedlot. Everything, from infectious to traumatic injuries, we’re going to have it for you today, so stayed tuned.
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(Dan) Well, Dr. Shane, welcome to the show. (Dr. Shane Terrell) Thank you. I appreciate you having me on. (Dan) You better. Folks, Dr. Shane Terrell, he’s a DVM and a Ph.D. He’s one of the veterinarians for Production Animal Consultation, otherwise known as PAC. Great to have him on the show, finding the time when he can get down here out of Nebraska into Kansas. We’re going to talk about the foot. Basically about lamenesses and things to that nature. But your dissertation and your research, you’ve done a lot of work on cattle feet and different abnormalities. Can we just start out by talking a little about the foot and some of the common things we see? (Shane) Absolutely. When we think about diseases of the foot or causes of lameness, we think about, first, infectious causes which is probably the ones that are most common. So, we have foot rot, hairy heel wart or diseases that are problems of hygiene, muddy pens that have a bacterial component that creates an infection. Other common causes that we didn’t think were as common until we started doing a little more aggressive diagnostics, looking a little more directly at some of these causes would be: toe abscesses, sole abscesses, lacerations. Those are primarily bruises or hemorrhages of the sole area that, if untreated, initially, can lead to infections of the joint. And so, we end up with our secondary infections of septic joints, which, a lot of times, was misclassified as foot rot, but is actually an infection of the joint itself in which our outcomes are quite a bit poor. (Dan) Yes. Didn’t you say, when you start to get from some of these things, if left untreated or if the animal is not cared for, can actually lead to septic joint or wind up being that chronic? (Shane) Absolutely. Those secondary infections or those septic joints can come from either untreated toe abscesses, sole abscesses, or foot rots, primarily. But in any of those causes where we have loss of integrity of the area of the foot, either through the skin or through the white line at the bottom of the foot, where we can introduce bacteria, any of those can eventually lead to those septic joints. (Dan) I think one thing that has been interesting from your research, which has many things that are interesting, but we used to be of the mindset, “Until the calf is so lame that it can’t compete with its pen mates, if it’s got a little limp, we are just going to leave it.” But your research shows, the sooner we get on it, the better chance we have of it recovering. (Shane) Absolutely. Our outcomes, no matter what the cause, outside of a catastrophic injury of some sort, no matter what the cause, timing intervention is key. If we can address those when they’re at early hemorrhage of that toe and get those potentially drained or treated for preventive secondary infection, or, if we can treat an infectious foot rot early in the disease process prior to infecting that joint, our outcomes are significantly better. (Dan) That’s what we are going to talk about, folks. When we come back from break, we’re going to talk about some of the things that you can do by picking that foot up, making sure you get the proper diagnosis. Doing it early, great intervention, better success, and treatment success for your cattle. Thanks for watching DocTalk, more after these messages.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Shane Terrell who’s a DVM/Ph.D. Heads up research and also is a practicing veterinarian for Production Animal Consultation. He’s located in Nebraska, and we are talking about lameness and about early diagnosis in the foot. You have some tools here that you’re going to talk to us about for a little bit. (Shane) Absolutely. If we’re looking at intervening for a lot of our causes, first we got to make sure that we have tools in place so we can, first, properly diagnose those animals and secondly, properly treat those animals. So, the first thing that we need to do is make sure that we provide an environment that’s safe for both the animal and for the caregivers who are trying to diagnose those animals. So the first thing we need to do is either consider tilt tables for proper straightening of the animal. If we don’t do that, what I utilize, primarily, is a rope and a pulley system, to lift up those feet to make sure we securely get those feet secured so we can properly diagnose those animals. (Dan) I think a lot of people, and I can remember back from my dad and myself, from practice, when you pick that foot up, have your wash bucket and a scrub brush, get that thing cleaned up so you can really see what you’re dealing with. (Shane) Absolutely. Clean that foot up. Once we clean that foot up then we’re going to go ahead and do some further diagnosis where some of these tools come into play. The most important thing that we can have around is a pair of hoof testers. You’ve probably seen farriers possibly have these around, or your veterinarians for equine lameness diagnosis. But it’s an important tool that identifies areas of sensitivity in that foot. So we’re looking at, specifically, toe abscesses and sole abscesses. We’ll take the hoof testers, go ahead and squeeze, and it will be a pretty firm squeeze on that toe, to try and either identify a pain response or that animal is going to flinch or try and move its foot based on the pain response, or else, we could find a very soft empty socket where there was an abscess that’s gone ahead and either moved out through the coronary band into the joint itself. When we’re testing the sole, across the sole, we’re going to take the hoof testers and we’re going to go ahead and squeeze across the back at the bottom of the foot in the sole, about two-thirds a way back. Those are where we are going to, primarily, find most of our sole abscesses. Sole abscesses was a diagnosis we didn’t think was a problem for your cattle or beef cattle in general. It’s very common in the industry. But as we’ve picked up feet and pushed for further diagnosis, we’ve found that it’s not only there present, it’s fairly common lesion. It’s just misdiagnosed and under diagnosed. (Dan) I think that’s what a lot of us are about, is that we’ve just called everything a foot rot or club foot, and going on about our business. And what you’re researching and your diagnostic work has shown is that, man, we’re missing the boat on a lot of these. (Shane) Absolutely. What we’ve called, again, foot rots, commonly, are septic joints that are secondary to some of these primary traumatic or concussive types of lesions and something like them. (Dan) So you’re looking at toe abscesses, sole abscesses as being your two top non-infectious… (Shane) Yes, non-infectious types. Some lacerations in addition, but those are the two most common non-infectious or traumatic types of causes. (Dan) Great. Well, we got to take a break here, but when we come back, we’re going to talk about what we’re going to do when we get that calf’s foot picked up, some of the things that we’re going to do on diagnosis and some of the tools to help treat them. You’re watching DocTalk and we’re glad you joined us.
(Dan) Folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Shane Terrell. We’re at Kansas State University, and Dr. Terrell is a veterinarian who practices with Production Animal Consultation, and he also heads up their research, as Research Director, but let’s start out with foot rot. I pick up the foot, what am I going to see with foot rot? (Shane) Foot rot, typically, we’re going to see symmetrical swelling. Between those two claws, we’re going to see even swelling between those claws, that’s going to cause those claws to go ahead and separate to some degree. When we smell that foot, we’re going to have necrotic smell. The name of the bacteria is Fusobacterium necrophorum, which, in itself, says that necrotic are really foul smells. Those will be the most diagnostic. So if we see that animal with symmetrical swelling at the shoe, we don’t need to necessarily lift that foot unless we see swelling above that, up in the joint itself. That’s the one instance where we go ahead and leave that foot down. Just treat it for foot rot and move on. (Dan) The other one that has not been as common until recent years is the hairy heel wart. (Shane) And again, probably under diagnosed and mis-diagnosed, as foot rot, previously, but hairy heel warts is going to be a bright red lesion. Typically, there’s different stages: M1, 3 and 4 stages of that. But in general, it’s a very painful lesion on the back part, between the claws on the backside of the heel area. It’s going to be bright red, in other instances, it’s just going to be an area that’s pared out, and we see some ulceration in that spot. When we see that, we’ll press the back part of the heel. We’ll see it have a very profound pain response when we press in that area. Parenteral antibiotics haven’t been very successful in those cases, and so, our treatments are going to be more topical treatments for that diagnosis. (Dan) So you’ll use foot bags and different things for that nature. (Shane) Yes, foot bags and wraps and all means of treatment. (Dan) I think that understanding these two infectious agents, hairy heel warts is pretty contagious, right? (Shane) That’s somewhat debatable. We set up those conditions in a pen. It’s hard to produce that disease experimentally, and so, we don’t really know how contagious it is or if we’re just in that pen we’ve set up the conditions for an outbreak itself. That bacteria is present in the GI tract in these animals, and so whether it’s highly infectious or not, if we set up the conditions, the environment for that to thrive, it can pop up in a big way. (Dan) Pen conditions you made, mention that, are pretty important in controlling a lot of these diseases. What are some or the more common issues in pens that you see? (Shane) In general, mud is one, but any time where we produce a condition where those animals never have the ability for that skin to dry out, so pooling around water tanks, if we don’t have proper drainage around water tanks, we can control mud as best as we can. In some periods of the year, in some environment, it’s tougher to do then than others. But in general, creating an opportunity for that heel or lesion to dry out is necessary. (Dan) I think some of the times when you get that skin on the hooves, it’s real soft, and you have the areas that could cut the dry areas in the pen. Wet and dryer is together. It seems like if the pen is totally wet or totally dry, we’d get along a lot better. (Shane) Absolutely. (Dan) All right, folks, we’re going to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to get into some hoof paring here. We’re going to talk about those toe abscesses and sole abscesses. You’re watching DocTalk. Thank you.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Shane Terrell. He’s with Production Animal Consultation, where he’s a veterinarian and also has his Ph.D. in Production Animal Medicine, working on lameness. Talk to me a little bit, we hadn’t got to the nippers and the knives, about what we’re going to do with these toe abscesses. (Shane) When we move into the more traumatic causes toe abscesses, sole abscesses, you certainly consult your veterinarian on proper treatment of these or their recommendations, but in general, we need to allow for the undermined sole to be removed. So if there’s puss forming in those places, we need to get that puss drained and remove the sole that is present over top of those. (Dan) Toe abscesses are aggressive or wilder cattle, aggressive cattle, poor cattle handling. Rough surfaces will lead to all these, right? (Shane) Yes, absolutely. A lot of these lesions, specifically toe abscesses, will be, we’ll see, early in the feeding period, in the feedlot, whether they happened in the transport phase or in the sale barn phase or through processing of the feedyard, but we’ll typically see those in the first three or four weeks of cattle on feed. (Dan) One of the things that you said when I heard you speak was that if you don’t treat them, that abscess is going to go somewhere. Where are the three places it could go? (Shane) In general, it can either move up into the joint and set up in the joint, that’s when we get septic joints. The second opportunity is for it to come up to the hoof capsule and come out the coronary band. So it’ll come out the hoof to skin junction, somewhere, and if it does, that’ll lead opportunities for other secondary pathogens to come in and cause an infection. Or the third place is to go out the bottom of the foot in the white line area. Very few of them we see do that, most of them move up somewhere. But if we don’t do something with these, a lot of times will lead to septic joints. (Dr. Dan) I heard you say, one time, that you have a calf that’s lame and the next day it’s not lame sometimes those things will bust and they’ll feel a little bit better but then- (Dr. Shane) It doesn’t mean our outcomes are better, yes, exactly. (Dr. Dan) Tell me a little bit about what we’re going to use and what we’re going to do. (Dr. Shane) I use a hoof nipper. We can have 10-inch to 14-inch hoof nippers in a shoe. When I lift up the feet, I like the smaller ones myself. But, well, our goals is, is to provide an opportunity for those toes to drain, those toe abscesses to drain. What I’ll do is, I’ll nip that toe perpendicular to the ground to provide opportunity for that pus to drain forward, not down. We don’t want to cause a hole on the bottom of the foot, so we’ll get more dirt and mud into that area. Every time that foot steps down, it’s going to work like a piston and push that pus out of their sores. It’s going to work to our advantage there. That’s going to be important for the toe abscesses. When we move into the sole abscesses, what we’ll want to do is find that and what we’re going to do is actually pare any undermined sole out, kind of, like an apple, like a bad spot in an apple. We’ll just keep taking that sole out until we can’t into the junction of true tissue from the sole and just remove all that undermined sole where we’ve had pus in before and not allow new horn to grow in over top of it and provide a place for that to drain. If we are going to use these, make sure we have proper sharpening equipment. This is a rubber wheel with a felt wheel. If we have dull knives we are not going to get anything accomplished. So make sure we invest, 70-80 dollar investment, to make sure these knives are effective. (Dr. Dan) Well, thanks a million for all you’re doing, and thanks for bringing this awareness to our industry, really appreciate it. (Dr. Shane) Thank you. (Dr. Dan) Great work. Folks thanks for watching DocTalk. Remember, always work with your local veterinarian, and if you want to know more about what we do here on the show, you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson with Dr. Shane Terrell, thanks for watching DocTalk, and I’ll see you down the road.
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