Hairy Heel Warts (Digital Dermatitis) is an extremely painful condition for dairy cattle which affects the hind hooves in 85% of the cases.  Afflicted cattle tend to walk on their toes because these warts cause abnormal heel overgrowth.  This condition is contagious and the lesions cause lameness in as high as 30% of the cows on the average dairy farm.  Susceptible animals included dairy cattle around calving, first-calf replacement heifers and malnourished cattle.  In addition, high producing cows are disproportionately affected.  Lame cows in early lactation often have a reduction in milk production by 20 to 50%.

ProActive Solutions USA has a very effective treatment program in controlling Hairy Heel Warts.  Our Select Hoof Care Program can be utilized in three different and independent ways: the first product is called Select Foot Bath™ which is a concentrated buffered liquid inorganic acid and is utilized by adding it to Copper Sulfate at a reduced solution concentration of just 20% into a premeasured foot bath; the second product is called Select Complete Foot Bath™ which is a ready-to-use foot bath which is a complete formula of buffered inorganic acid and copper sulfate; and the third product is called Select Topical Hoof Spray™ which is a ready-to-use concentrated buffered liquid organic acid mixed with copper sulfate.  This third product works great on individual cows in the parlor after milking, rinsing the hoof and then spraying Select Topical Hoof Spray™ directly on the wart.

The key usage recommendations and guidelines that I’ve found very helpful when using our Select Hoof Care products are:

  • Always wear proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when mixing a hoof bath solution – proper eyewear and impervious nitrile gloves.
  • Add the correct amount of Select Foot Bath™ solution to the dissolved Copper Sulfate. Make sure both products are mixed thoroughly.
  • This is an acidifying product with a very effective range in pH between 1.5 and 3.5.
  • 300 – 500 cows are possible through an effective foot bath range; however, this is highly dependent on the reduction of organic matter within the bath. Set up the baths where cows walk straight through, not on corners or areas where the cows bunch up before going back to their pens.
  • Depending on the severity of the Hairy Heel Warts, it is recommended to use the foot bath consistently for 3 weeks. Here we would re-evaluate the effectiveness of the foot bath and herd conditions and adjust accordingly.

The benefits of ProActive Solutions USA Hoof Care products are the following:

  • They are very effective and easy to use in controlling Hairy Heel Warts.
  • The Select Foot Bath™ product dilution can be prepared for any size of foot bath.
  • They provide a significant cost saving per foot bath in that only 20% of the normal amount of Copper Sulfate is used when adding the product.
  • There is a reduction of environmental impact since there is less Copper Sulfate in lagoons and fields.
  • Since the solution is buffered, it is safer on concrete and associated equipment.

The Select Hoof Care products are proven and effective. Your ProActive Solutions USA Animal Heelth and Hygiene specialist will help you set up and monitor the foot bath for maximum effectiveness.

Stay tuned for a webinar on Hoof Care at the end of August!




James Martin
Animal Health and Hygiene Specialist – ProActive Solutions USA
James provides over 30 years of animal industry leadership experience in both artificial insemination of dairy and beef cattle and also dairy chemical and sanitation applications. Degree from the Pennsylvania State University in Animal Science.


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