DRESDEN, Ont. — A Quebec company has begun marketing the first bovine foot bath for the control of digital dermatitis with a drug identification number issued by Health Canada.
Genevieve Legault, manager of regulatory and quality affairs with Thymol Technology, said Thymol Hoof is currently being promoted among Quebec veterinarians. The DIN was issued in April, and a Canadian roll-out of the product is expected before year’s end, she added.
Thymol Hoof’s key ingredient is thymol, a molecule isolated from the herb thyme.
Ulysse Dandurand, product development manager with the company, said the DIN provides assurance of the product’s efficacy, safety and consistency.
Ann Godkin, a veterinarian with Ontario Agriculture, agreed.
“Having a DIN gives you confidence that it works and that it is what it says it is,” she said.
Thymol Hoof contains no formaldehyde or copper sulfate, which are widely recognized within the dairy industry as having environmental and health risks.
It is non-toxic, non-corrosive, doesn’t irrigate and is biodegradable, according to the company’s website. It comes in a concentrated liquid and is felt to be an economic alternative to the chemicals used in most other foot baths.
It quickly kills the bacteria that causes digital dermatitis and is not affected by the presence of manure.
Dandurand said one of the challenges in developing the product, which is to be patented internationally, was to make it stable in a water-based solution.
“We look at pretty well all the essential oils in developing this product,” he said.
“Thymol was the one that best controls digital dermatitis … and the bacteria did not appear to develop any resistance to the thymol molecule.”
Digital dermatitis, also known as strawberry foot rot, is second only to mastitis in terms of economic impact in the dairy industry and is a growing problem as the industry shifts to free-stall barns, Dandurand said.
It tends to be less of a problem in tie-stall barns or when cows are turned out onto pasture.
The disease can become more of a concern any time cows are stressed, such as this past summer in Central Canada when it was hot for extended periods.
Dandurand said Thymol is an effective preventive measure for hoof disease, but farmers also need to take steps to manage the environment of their barns, including keeping them as clean as possible.
Other products also manage dermatitis, but only one other, produced by the Dutch firm Intracare, has a Canadian DIN number. It is used as a topical treatment rather than as a preventive foot bath.
Another foot bath with natural ingredients is Hoof Treet 365, which is produced by Integrated Bio Solutions in Abbotsford, B.C.