Research-Proven, Nutritional Solution Helps Manage Digital Dermatitis in Cattle
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., Aug. 11, 2015 – Zinpro Corporation recently introduced Availa®Plus in Europe, providing dairy and beef producers throughout the region with an innovative, research-proven, nutritional solution to foot health management. Multiple studies have shown that feeding Availa-Plus helps provide protection against digital dermatitis (DD), a common infectious foot disease, when fed as part of a well-fortified diet and according to specific feeding recommendations.
“Research has shown that the combination of essential trace minerals found in Availa-Plus are effective at helping decrease the incidence of DD in cattle, when fed according to specific feeding recommendations,” says Arturo Gomez, Ph.D., D.V.M., dairy veterinarian – Europe, Zinpro Corporation. “Improving trace mineral nutrition within a well-fortified diet has been shown to help cattle build stronger skin integrity and a more empowered immune system.”
Digital dermatitis can cause painful lesions that often lead to lameness in dairy and beef cattle, and the impact of lameness on animal performance is costly and wide-reaching. Most notably, decreased milk production and poor reproductive performance are observed in dairy cattle. When Availa-Plus is fed according to specific feeding recommendations to growing dairy heifers or beef cattle, research has shown these animals are better able to resist digital dermatitis and, therefore, are not as likely to contract it later in life. In addition, research has shown growing dairy heifers exhibit improved feed efficiency during rearing and increased milk production
The bacteria that are thought to cause DD have the ability to penetrate deeply into the skin, so building a more resilient barrier against the bacteria is key to disease prevention. The formulation of Availa-Plus available in Europe contains a unique combination of zinc, manganese and copper (from Zinpro Performance Minerals®), as well as iodine.
Zinc is a key component of healthy skin. It helps form strong skin cells that hold together better, which helps the skin resist the micro-tears that allow bacterial access and infection. When damage to the skin does occur, it is important that the immune system react efficiently. Iodine and manganese help enhance the killing ability of macrophages. These cells consume and destroy the bacteria. Copper and zinc are also critical for effective immune protection.
To promote increased understanding about DD in Europe and to share effective strategies to manage this common infectious foot disease in dairy herds, Zinpro Corporation recently hosted a First Step® Academy training program near Düsseldorf, Germany. Throughout that event, many speakers emphasized the need to apply a multi-pronged approach to DD management, including footbathing, hoof trimming and topical treatment of active lesions, in addition to improving hygiene, housing and nutritional practices. Participants also received instruction on the DD Check App, a new Zinpro resource that helps dairy producers identify, record and predict DD. The app is available at no cost on iPhone and iPad devices through the App Store (search “Zinpro”).
According to Dr. Gomez, many dairy operations in Europe and the U.S. have no protocol for managing DD in heifers and little awareness of the need to begin managing DD in their replacement stock. “Both heifer care and cow care are crucial in managing DD on a dairy. In particular, research has shown that a greater emphasis on improving heifer nutrition, hygiene management and avoiding new DD infections can greatly improve animal performance and decrease susceptibility to DD later in life.”
To learn more about DD and Availa-Plus, watch Episode 1 and Episode 3 of the Experts Talk online video series at zinpro.com. To hear more from dairy industry experts as they address common questions related to DD and Availa-Plus, visit the digital dermatitis FAQ video library at zinpro.com. For more information about Availa-Plus and how to formulate it into your rations, please visit www.zinpro.com/availa-plus or contact your local Zinpro representative.