This bacteria related disease can occur in cattle of all ages though predominately seen in adults with increased incidence during the wet fall and summer months. The bacteria enters the foot through lesions in the lower part of the foot or through the softened tissue from standing too long in wet manure and mud.
Lameness will appear suddenly and often only in 1 foot. A moderate fever may be present in the animal and some pus may be seen. Necrotic skin may be seen and will have a foul odor. The foot is usually swollen and the animal in acute pain.
Often the animal will recover on its own but if not treated, the lameness and pain could continue for weeks. Penicillin, tetracyclines, sodium sulfadimidine, sulfabromomethazine, and other antibacterial agents are used for systemic therapy. Daily treatment begun immediately after onset of lameness usually will give excellent recovery in two to four days. Treated animals should be maintained on a dry surface until recovered. Recent research has shown that dietary zinc supplementation is effective in treating and preventing footrot in cattle.