Digital Dermatitis (Mortellaro’s disease, Italian foot rot)

Digital dermatitis is present on many dairy farms and besides being very infectious, it is very hard to get rid of. Several different types of bacteria affect the skin in the interdigital space, which is characterized by red, hairless and very painful lesions. Due to their appearance, the lesions are often referred to as “strawberry like”. Most frequently they are seen at the back of the foot, in the interdigital space between the two heels. Very specific about Mortellaro, is that the lesions may become “inactive” after which they either heal or are re-activated. Animals may keep the affected limb of the ground and/or are severe lame, due to the painfulness of the lesions.