Cattle foot trimming: equipment disinfection

Lameness caused by infectious disease, such as digital dermatitis, can be spread between feet and cattle on contaminated equipment. Find out how to properly disinfecting knives, to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

Back to: Foot trimming cattle to prevent and treat lameness

Hygiene protocol for foot trimming

This protocol has been shown to remove viable bacteria from foot-trimming knives and user gloves. This will minimise the spread of digital dermatitis via this route.

As some (~12.5%) healthy feet may have subclinical digital dermatitis, this protocol should always be used during foot trimming, i.e. when trimming feet with any signs of digital dermatitis (including healed), any other foot/claw horn presentations and also healthy feet.

This procedure should be used, together with additional control strategies such as routine foot bathing and effective slurry management, to help prevent the spread of digital dermatitis.

Getting prepared

One option is to wear arm-length gloves with wrist-length gloves over the top so they can be easily changed when damaged. Wrist protectors can still be worn over the arm-length gloves, as only hand gloves would be changed as needed.

Equipment needed

  • Arm-length disposable gloves
  • Wrist-length disposable gloves
  • Bucket of soapy water
  • Two pairs of clean hoof knives
  • Container for disinfectant

Disinfectant: 2% Virkon, 2% sodium hypochlorate or 1% FAM30 are suitable for this purpose.

Useful links

Reducing the spread of digital dermatitis by disinfection of hoof-trimming equipment

Lameness in dairy cows

Digital dermatitis: principles of treatment

Lesions of the feet