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Association between bovine digital dermatitis treponemes and a range of ‘non-healing’ bovine hoof disorders
  1. N. J. Evans, BSc, PhD1,
  2. R. W. Blowey, BSc, BVSc, FRCVS3,
  3. D. Timofte, BVSc, PhD1,
  4. D. R. Isherwood, FIMLS1,
  5. J. M. Brown, BSc1,
  7. R. J. Paton, BSc, AgAnSci4 and
  8. S. D. Carter, BSc, PhD, FIMLS, FRCPath2
  1. Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZJ
  2. Departments of Veterinary Pathology and Veterinary Clinical Science, School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZJ
  3. Wood Veterinary Group, 125 Bristol Road, Gloucester GL2 4NB
  4. Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES
  1. E-mail for correspondence evansnj{at}

This study describes the association between bovine digital dermatitis (BDD) treponemes and three ‘non-healing’ bovine hoof horn lesions, namely, ‘toe necrosis’ (TN), ‘non-healing white line disease’ (nhWLD) and ‘non-healing sole ulcer’ (nhSU), which are disorders that involve penetration through the horn capsule to involve the corium. In this study, these non-healing disorders (n=44) were identified as foot lesions that exhibited a topical granular appearance, exuded a typical pungent smell, were severely painful to the animal involved, and typically originated from farms where BDD is endemic. Given the similarities between these ‘non-healing’ lesions and BDD, the authors subjected samples of diseased tissue to PCR assays to detect the presence of DNA of BDD treponemes. All the three characterised BDD treponeme groups were identified as present together in 84.2, 81.3 and 55.6 per cent of samples of TN (n=19), nhWLD (n=16) and nhSU (n=9), respectively. In contrast, healthy control horn samples from similar sites (n=16) were PCR-negative for the BDD treponemes. Hence, these non-healing hoof lesions were strongly associated with BDD treponemes. Samples from typical heel horn erosions (n=9) were also subjected to BDD treponeme PCR assays and no association could be identified between the BDD treponemes and this horn manifestation.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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