The effect of four antiseptic compounds on umbilical cord healing and infection rates in the first 24 hours in dairy calves from a commercial herd
The objective of this study was to compare the effect of four umbilical dips on the healing rate and incidence of infection of umbilical cords in newborn calves (n = 60). Late gestation Jersey cows were monitored at a commercial farm (Sioux Jersey; Salix, IA) and newborn purebred (n = 30) and crossbred (n = 30) calves were obtained within 30 min after birth. Calves were alternately assigned by birth order to 4 treatment groups: 7% iodine, 1000 ppm chlorine created using a novel chlorine disinfectant technology (ECAlogix™ System – Zurex Pharmagra), chlorohexidine, and ZuraLac (Zurex Pharmagra). Prior to dipping (within 30 min of birth), diameter of the umbilical cords (as an indicator of cord drying and healing) were determined using digital calipers. In addition, as an indicator of umbilical infections, surface temperature of the umbilical stump (along with a reference point at the midpoint of the sternum) was determined using a dual laser infrared thermometer (model 42570, Extech Instruments Nashua, NH). These measurements were all repeated at 24 ± 1 h of age. All data were analyzed using mixed model methods (PROC MIXED, SAS Version 9.2). All models included the fixed effects of breed (Jersey or Jersey cross), sex (bull or heifer) and treatment. Fixed effect interactions were not included in the statistical model due to the relatively small sample size. There were no treatment differences (p > 0.05) for healing rate of umbilical cords. Initially, mean umbilical cord diameter was 22.84 ± 3.89 mm and they healed to a mean diameter of 7.64 ± 4.12 mm at 24 h of age. Similarly, there were no treatment effects (p > 0.05) on incidence of umbilical infections. Mean surface temperature of the umbilical stump was 33.1 ± 2.2° at birth (1.5 ± 1.6° higher than the sternal reference temperature) and at 24 ± 1 h of age the mean temperature of the umbilical stump was 33.0 ± 4.3° (0.5 ± 1.8° lower than the sternal reference temperature). These data suggest that these dips are equally effective for preventing infections and permitting healing of the umbilical cord when used within 30 min of birth.
Keywords: calves, umbilical cord, umbilical dip