Comparison of the therapeutic efficacy of salicylic acid paste with a polyurethane wound dressing for the treatment of digital dermatitis lesions in dairy cows.


Veterinary Practice Zettlitz, Zettlitz, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]


There is little evidence of the efficacy of artificial polymers for controlling bovine digital dermatitis (BDD) as a major problem of intensive dairy productions worldwide. We therefore aimed to compare salicylic acid (SA)-based paste with a polyurethane (PU) wound dressing on a German Holstein dairy farm over a maximum 56-d period. On d 0, 109 ft with active BDD lesions from 109 cows were randomly assigned to two treatment groups: (1) SA group received a topical SA-containing paste and (2) PU group was treated with a PU wound dressing. Dressing changes were performed according to manufacturer's instructions until clinical cure (transition from active M1 or M2 to non-active M4 or healed M0 stages), whereby a clinical scoring of lesions was additionally conducted. Data from 100 ft could be analyzed (nSA = 54; nPU = 46). There was a significant reduction of the lesion score over time within each group (SA: d 0-d 14; PU: d 0-d 28, p < .05). Score differences between first (d 0) and second (SA: d 7; PU: d 14) as well as between first and third (SA: d 14; PU: d 28) evaluation did not differ significantly (p > .05). The proportion of clinically cured cows was higher in SA than in PU on d 14 (96.3 vs. 32.6%) as well as on d 28 (100 vs. 54.3%) after initial treatment (p < .05). Analysis of survival to cure in a Cox regression model showed that hazard ratio (HR) was higher for SA with PU as baseline (HR: 6.324, 95% CI: 3.625-11.033, p < .05). However, while BDD scores at enrollment did not differ between treatments (p > .05), PU had a significantly lower final BDD score (p < .05). In conclusion, evidence on the efficacy of PU bandages to treat BDD lesions is provided and further studies on bacteriological cure as well as recurrence rates are needed.


Cattle,Claw disease,Lameness,Topical application,Treponemes,