Locate the foot bath in an area regularly traveled by cattle. The exit lanes from milking parlors work well.
- Foot baths should be 8 to 10 feet long and approximately 3 feet wide with a depth of 6 inches. Locate foot baths on a level surface.
- If practical, locate a foot bath containing water (pre-bath) preceding the treatment foot bath. This will help to clean cows feet prior to entering the treatment foot bath.
- There should be a gap of 6 to 8 feet between the treatment and water (prebath) foot baths. Cows tend to defecate when entering foot baths. The 6 to 8 foot gap between foot baths allows cows to complete defecation prior to entering the treatment foot bath.
- Foot bath solutions should be 4 to 6 inches deep to ensure adequate coverage of the foot area.
- Change foot bath solutions after every 150 to 200 cowsa. This will vary due to reasons such as cow cleanliness, use of a pre-bath, type and concentration of medication used, and weather conditions.
- Thoroughly drain foot bath and rinse with water before mixing a new batch of solution.
- Alternate times for replenishing foot baths with fresh solution so each group of cows has access to fresh solution.
- Cows should enter a clean dry area after passing through the foot bath.
- Foot baths are most effective for treating diseases of the interdigital skin such as interdigital dermatitis and foot rot.
- It is recommended that foot baths be used at least 3 to 4 days per week.
- In arid regions, evaporation will concentrate active ingredients.
- Formalin is not effective at temperatures below 45°F.
a Manure deactivates the chemicals used in a foot bath; therefore, foot baths must be managed properly to achieve maximum effectiveness. A poorly managed foot bath can actually become a vector for certain infectious diseases of the foot.
Foot Bath Options
Foot Bath Calculations