Digicur, is a broad-spectrum, preventative, disinfectant based on the compound glutaraldehyde. Alison Clark, Product Manager for Progiene explains that Digicur contains no formalin or heavy metals and works by forming an invisible seal around the coronary band, drying on contact with immediate effect.
Described as a preventative control option for infections such as sheep scald, Alison notes that scald has been a recurring point of discussion at agricultural events across the country this year, as a result of the heavy rainfall at the beginning of the year.
“This combined with the plentiful supply of grass has compounded the problem and resulted in the increased persistence and spread of this and other hoof borne bacterial infections,” Alison comments.
Sheep scald is one of the most common causes of lameness across the UK. The highly contagious disease causes damage to the superficial layer between claws effecting flock performance. With pre-tupping season fast approaching, ensuring ewes and rams are in prime condition will be key to ensuring reproductive success so a decent footbath at this time of year is key for sheep farmers.
Traditionally, farmers have used foot bath products predominantly containing formalin. “Farmers are increasingly seeking an alternative to formalin to avoid the associated risks with the solution, as well as looking for products which will save time and improve effectiveness,” she explains.
“The benefits of Digicur have been highlighted by our customers,” says Alison. “The willingness of both sheep and cattle to enter the footbath solution has been noted by farmers, and operators have stated Digicur as being more pleasant to deal with compared to alternative leading products.”
Alison advises adopting a routine bathing and hygiene program to help prevent the spread of disease and secondary infection. “Ideally farmers should be aiming to run sheep through a 1% Digicur solution (1 litre Digicur to 100 litres water) every four to six weeks. This may be increased to a 2% solution if the farmer is suffering from an outbreak.
“For an all-encompassing foot bathing program, farmers should also be looking to adopt and maintain good hygiene practices for handling equipment, and disinfect foot trimming equipment between batches of animals,” she says.
She concludes, “Strong anecdotal on-farm evidence from farmers using the product confirms that Digicur is an effective, niche product that is safe to use. What’s more, at industry events this season, the early feedback has been exceptionally positive from sheep farmers. This, combined with efficacy tested lab results, suggests Digicur has potential to help the industry reach national flock lameness targets.”
Photo: Scald – the interdigital skin is red and swollen and covered by a thin layer of white exudate – ©NADIS/Phil Scott