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Significant milk yield benefits seen after NSAID treatment, study finds

Research has revealed substantial benefits to using ketoprofen for the treatment of pain and lameness associated with digital dermatitis in cattle.

Lameness is one of the most significant problems facing the dairy industry worldwide, having a major impact on cattle welfare, health and production, leading to substantial economic losses. Lameness has been associated with reduced milk yield, mastitis, and infertility and has been reported to be prevalent in dairy herds in Europe and North America.

Within the UK, the average herd lameness prevalence was recently found to be just under one third and digital dermatitis is one of the most frequently recorded diseases associated with lameness in dairy cattle.

A recent study published in Vet Record highlighted the benefits of using ketoprofen (Ketofen 10%) for the treatment of pain and lameness associated with digital dermatitis (DD) in cattle.

During the study, 158 cows with active DD were randomly allocated to either the control group or the treatment group. All cows were treated with a topical application of oxytetracycline spray. The treatment group also received an intramuscular injection of Ketofen 10% (ketoprofen 3mg/kg). Cows were mobility scored just before they were treated and then again one week later.

The results indicated that animals in the control group were 2.57 times more likely to be lame at the second evaluation compared to those that received Ketofen 10%, however cows that were lame in the control group prior to treatment and did not receive Ketofen 10% were over 20 times more likely to remain lame a week post-treatment compared to cows that did receive Ketofen 10%.

Interestingly, this same study showed a benefit in milk yield; on average, treated animals gave nearly 3kg more but the freshly calved cows, which were lame at diagnosis, gave over 10kg more.

Nick Bell, veterinary surgeon and director of Herd Health Consultancy, comments: “We’ve widely recognised the importance of NSAIDs for treating claw lesions, which are primarily inflammatory conditions, but this study is the first real insight into how important NSAIDs are for any lesion, including digital dermatitis, particularly if the cow is showing signs of lameness. This research provides a clear welfare justification for giving NSAIDs to dairy cows with active digital dermatitis lesions, with significant milk yield benefits.”

Katherine Timms, ruminant veterinary advisor at Ceva Animal Health added: “Digital dermatitis is undoubtedly a painful condition that can have a major impact on the welfare, health and production of cattle. This study suggests that Ketofen 10% is beneficial for the treatment of lameness associated with active digital dermatitis lesions as it helps improve mobility scores and should be considered as part of a farm’s herd health plan.”

For further information on the study visit https://doi.org/10.1002/vetr.977. For information on Ketofen 10% visit https://www.wavegoodbyetopain.co.uk.

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