Cathelicidin and Digital dermatitis
Why don't digital dermatitis lesions heal?
Digital dermatitis (DD) is an important disease in cattle characterized by painful inflammation of foot skin, with ulcers and necrosis that cause lameness. The economic impact of DD is reflected in reduced production, lower reproductive rates, and forced culling. Lameness is the cattle industry’s most prominent animal welfare challenge. Current treatments with conventional antibiotics and untested caustic chemicals are inconsistently effective and potentially hazardous for humans, cattle and the environment.
We investigate the foot skin innate immunity in cattle and why the ulcerative lesions in DD do not heal. We use cultured skin cells and murine models with subcutaneous injections with Treponema spp isolated from DD lesions to determine mechanisms of action and anti-inflammatory effectiveness of cathelicidins and metalloproteases inhibitors. The therapeutic success of these non-antibiotic alternatives is validated in cows with clinical DD and compared to the efficacy of current treatments used by dairy producers.