The efficacy of a non-antibiotic enzyme alginogel on digital dermatitis in dairy cattle
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AIMS: Alginogel (AG) is an effective treatment for Udder Cleft Dermatitis (UCD). This non-antimicrobial gel contains enzymes that ensure restoration of bacterial balance. Alginates stimulate the proliferation of cytokines and therefore activate immune cells in the wound. Also, the calcium ions in alginates facilitate haemostasis and the formed gel does not stick to the wound. It was hypothesised that this alginogel is effective in the treatment of digital dermatitis (DD) lesions. The aim was to investigate the efficacy of this AG on M1- and M2-lesions of DD, compared with a treatment with a gel containing copper and zinc chelates (CZG). METHODS: 536 lactating cows from seven different dairy farms were claw-trimmed and examined for the presence of DD using the M-score. Feet with M1- or M2-lesions were included in the trial. Feet were alternately allocated to the AG or CZG treatment group and photographed, treated and bandaged on day 0 and 3. On day 7, lesions were photographed and received a third treatment and bandage if the lesion was still an open wound. All treated lesions were photographed for examination on day 10. Clinical improvement of DD lesions was defined as lesions that transferred from being classified as M1-lesions to M0, M3, M4 or M4.1, or M2-lesions that transferred to M0, M1, M3, M4 or M4.1. The effect of AG and CZG on clinical improvement was analysed using logistic regression models, including several important covariates. During a follow up period of 10 weeks, 732 hind feet were examined using the M-score every two weeks in the milking parlor using a mirror glued on a spatula. RESULTS: 207 feet were treated and included in the analysis. The clinical improvement rate of feet treated with AG was 29.0% (29/100, CI 20.0 – 38.0%) and with CZG 92.5% (99/107, CI 87.0 – 98.0%). Feet treated with AG were less likely (OR: 0.03, p < 0.001) to improve than feet treated with CZG. The covariable ‘Farm’ was identified as a significant risk factor for clinical improvement of the treated DD-lesions in the logistic regression. The recurrence risks of AG and CZG during the follow-up period were respectively 0.40 and 0.15. CONCLUSIONS: AG was inferior to CZG. Considering the lower M-score clinical improvement rate and the higher recurrence risk of AG, compared to CZG, AG is not likely a favorable treatment product for M1- and M2-lesions of DD.