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Assessing farmer awareness of digital dermatitis prevalence in Danish dairy herds
  1. Victor H S Oliveira,
  2. Jan Tind Sørensen and
  3. Peter T Thomsen
  1. Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, Tjele, Denmark
  1. E-mail for correspondenceDepartment of Animal Science, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, P. O. Box50, Tjele DK-8830, Denmark; victor.oliveira{at}

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Digital dermatitis (DD) is a major and widespread contagious disease of the feet in dairy cattle.1–4 The disease may cause lameness in cows,5 decreased milk yield and excessive use of antibiotics.6 7 As an infected host plays a key role in the epidemiology of DD, early detection of DD-affected cows followed by adequate preventive and curative measures can reduce the spread of the disease between animals.8 In order for the farmer to acknowledge DD as a problem, he/she must be able to detect the disease. The current knowledge about DD detection by farmers is sparse. Rodríguez-Lainz and others9 found that in approximately a quarter of herds with DD, farmers did not recognise the disease being present. To evaluate to what degree dairy farmers can detect cases of DD, our objective was to compare within-herd DD prevalences estimated by farmers and determined by a researcher.

Data for this study were obtained as part of a study about the association between biosecurity and DD in Danish dairy herds, which occurred from January 2015 to August 2016.10 The authors included a range of commercial herds managed with systems typical of Danish dairy production, such as cubicle loose housing with solid or slatted concrete floors, and conventional or carousel milking parlours. Farmers’ estimates of the within-herd DD prevalence were acquired through a questionnaire. The farmers were asked if there was DD in their herd, followed by …

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