Foot rot is an acute and highly infectious disease of cattle, characterized by swelling and lameness.
The disease is caused by an infection with bacteria such as Fusobacterium necrophorum, Bacyeroides melaninogenicus, and Porphyromonas levii. Bacteria gain access through a skin injury or exposure to damp and wet conditions, resulting in a compromised skin barrier. The infection originates underneath the cow's hoof and can spread throughout the foot.
Foot rot initially presents as cellulitis and liquefactive necrosis (tissue death) of the interdigital skin and fissue formation. Without treatment, foot rot will progress to granulation tissue and interdigital granuloma. Advanced cases involve the development of septic arthritis and other serious complications.
Foot rot most commonly occurs during wet seasons, as damp conditions predispose cattle to feet damage and invasion by the organisms.