Be on the Lookout for Foot Rot in Wet Conditions

The winter months have spread heavy rains and deep snow across much of the country. During times of excessively wet conditions and flooding, a case of foot rot may be only one step away.

“Extremely wet and muddy conditions create the perfect environment for bacterial foot rot to thrive,” explains Jessica Light, DVM, senior veterinarian, Pfizer Animal Health Dairy Veterinary Operations. “Feet that don’t get dry have a high likelihood of being impacted by foot rot.”

Foot rot is an infection of the interdigital skin or soft tissue between the toes or claws of the hoof. This infection occurs when bacteria naturally present on the farm enter a cow’s hoof either through an injury or when the skin is too wet or soft to protect itself. Once the bacteria have invaded the foot, they can multiply quickly causing a painful infection. The foot may swell and develop a foul odor.

Light recommends producers stay proactive during adverse conditions.

  1. Check the weather and check your pens. Having a heightened sense of awareness during wet conditions can help identify the signs of foot rot early and keep cows out of the hospital pen.
  2. Watch for lameness. The first indication of foot rot is a cow that is hesitant to move around the milking parlor, barn or pasture. Foot rot comes on fast, so being vigilant about examining cows at first signs of lameness is important. Don’t wait for your routine hoof trimmer appointment. Have lame cows examined right away.
  3. Treat quickly. Early intervention is by far the best way to keep your cows from suffering from advanced foot rot.

Once an infection is identified, Light advises producers to treat the hoof infection as soon as possible. EXCEDE(ceftiofur crystalline free acid) offers extended therapy for the treatment of Fusobacterium necrophorum and Porphyromonas levii, two primary foot rot-causing bacteria in a single dose.

“When using EXCEDE, the cow is able to stay in the milking herd due to its zero milk discard, and the producer doesn’t lose the value of that milk,” says Light. “Its efficacy and the ability to keep cows out of the hospital are big reasons why veterinarians I work with recommend EXCEDE, and producers are pleased with that decision.”

Important Safety Information: As with all drugs, the use of EXCEDE is contraindicated in animals with known allergy to ceftiofur or to the β-lactam group (penicillins and cephalosporins) of antimicrobials. Though safe in cattle when properly administered, inadvertent intra-arterial injection is possible and fatal. EXCEDE has a pre-slaughter withdrawal time of 13 days in cattle. Do not use in calves processed for veal.

Prescribing Information

Pfizer Animal Health, a business of Pfizer Inc., is a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal vaccines and prescription medicines, investing an estimated $300 million annually in animal health product research and development.  For more information about how Pfizer Animal Health works to ensure a safe, sustainable global food supply from healthy livestock and poultry; or helps companion animals and horses to live longer, healthier lives, visit

For more information, contact:

Christina Lood                
Pfizer Animal Health                                         
Josh Hushon
Bader Rutter & Associates



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