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Soggy soil can lead to hurting hooves, local experts explain why

A local rancher discusses 'foot rot' in livestock
Posted at 9:33 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 10:33:18-04

BRYAN, TX — The continuous rain Texas recently experienced has resulted in a number of health issues for cattle, horses, and other farm animals who spend significant amounts of time standing in muddy areas.

KRHD visited one of Bryan’s biggest stops for farmers and ranchers, Producers Cooperative Association.

Kodi Burdette, field representative for the store and a rancher who owns two hundred head of cattle, spoke about the issues her customers have been facing with their herds. She said that since the storms began, Producers Cooperative has seen an influx of ranchers needing medications for their animals, who have experienced infection and irritation from days of standing in soggy fields.

One prevalent concern has been the bacterial disease commonly known as ‘footrot’ or ‘hoof rot.’

“Foot ot [happens] because we have an excessive amount of mud,” Burdette explained. “...Now the mud is just everywhere because of the abundance of rain, and it will be a bit of a challenge for our producers. What we want to do, the number one thing: keep those hooves clean.”

While there are preventative measures that can be taken, at this point Burdette noted that many people will be treating footrot in hindsight.

“We have to move into the mode of treatment,” she said. “And that would be for the cattle that are showing symptoms. Their hooves are going to be swollen red, their hooves are going to be tender. You’re going to see some lameness issues in your cattle, sheep, and horses.”

Burdette said Producers Cooperative has seen an increase in sales for products that treat an animal’s infected skin or hooves.

“There’s topical treatments that we can do with products like Kopertox,” she said, pointing out that animal owners can also inquire about vaccinations as preventative measures in the future. “... And then there are some protocols where we’ll take some antibiotics and use those for the treatment of the foot rot,” she added.

For large herds of hundreds to thousands, Burdette claimed it isn’t often easy to medically treat each animal, or bring every animal to dry land. She added that a reprieve from rain would be most beneficial.

For more information about animal health, Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension provides educational information about numerous livestock diseases and ailments.