https://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/fapm/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/DDCheck-152.png DDCheck

** Coming soon to the app store **

The DD Check App was developed by the Food Animal Production Medicine Section, School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin – Madison by Dr. Doerte Doepfer, Tom Bennett, and Dr. Marlene Tremblay. The app uses a graphical interface to score Digital Dermitis lesions in a group (pen) of cows. The lesion categories are M0 – Normal, M1, M2, M3, M4 and M4.1.

When the app is initiated, the user is prompted for a Herd Code, Herd Name, Scorer Name and pen number. This is to facilitate data storage and retrieval. This information is also accessible from the device’s Settings / DD Check. Using the settings feature eliminates the need to re-enter the Herd Code, Herd Name and Scorer Name for each repetitive use.

How to record DD lesions using the mobile DD Check App:

The user has the choice as to whether Pen number, CowID, or Foot are recorded. In order to use the prediction model portion of the App, CowIDs must be recorded.

For the simplest case of estimating prevalence of M-stages independent of CowID:
Record one of the M-stages and optional stage of chronicity as cattle are scored and hit “Save/New Cow” in between cattle.

If the user aims at recording M-stages and identifying the cattle for the purpose of repeated records per animal at regular time intervals and prediction modeling the user should enter the Pen Number in the respective field of the mobile App and tap on the CowID field next. Once the CowID has been entered continue by touching a foot button, an M-stage button and sign of Chronicity button. Then touch “Save/New Cow”. This will save the record and clear the data fields for the next entry. Entering information about Pen Number, Foot or Chronicity is optional, but will provide for more complete data summary.

Successively generated records can be viewed in a data table view below the “Save / New Cow” button. Touch a row in this table to recall a record for editing. To finalize editing, touch the “Save / New Cow” button. Single records can be deleted from the data table view via a left swipe on the record row and touching “delete”. Touch in the CowID field to continue data entry.

The record editing options allow for making short CowID list, for example: as animals enter a milking parlor, where CowIDs are wiped from the milk meters as milking gear is attached to the cows or while they are seen in a walking area (think about scoring feedlot steers walking in an alleyway). One CowID is entered followed by “Save/New Cow” (no M-stage record is made at this point in time) after which the next CowID is entered in the same way until the cow list is complete. The user comes back to the first animal on the list by tapping on the CowID field and recording the M-stage, Foot, sign of Chronicity respectively followed by pressing “Save/New Cow”.

During Pen Walks, M0, M2 and M4 stages and their signs of Chronicity are the stages of DD that can readily be recorded. During Parlor Checks and depending on the cleanliness of the feet: M0, M1, M2, M4 and sometimes M4.1 stages can be recognized together with their signs of Chronicity. Chute-side all M-stages can be recognized if feet are clean.

Digital dermatitis is often referred to as hairy heel warts and is a common infectious foot disease in dairy and beef cattle herds.

  • Digital dermatitis has been reported on 70 percent of all U.S. dairies, and on 95 percent of large operations (500+ cows).
  • The size and scope of digital dermatitis within the beef industry is undetermined but is a growing concern.
  • The disease often leads to lameness, which decreases milk
    production and fertility in dairy animals. In beef, lameness can
    account for 70 percent of all sales of non-performing cattle.

Raw, bright-red or black circular erosion of the skin above the heel bulbs, with edges forming a white margin that surrounds sores or is adjacent to thick, hairy, wart-like growths.

Weakening of the skin barrier, due to mechanical irritation and hyper hydration. Poor hygiene results in mixed infection with different bacteria, among them Treponema species, in a low-oxygen environment. Infection of the dermis leads to or results in acute inflammation — ulcerative dermatitis. Acute stage may develop into chronic forms characterized by thickening and proliferation of the epidermis (hairy warts).

Risk Factors:

  • Introducing new animals into the herd (biosecurity)
  • Poor hygiene, such as muddy pens and inadequate footbath programs
  • Foot insult/injury, chemical/physical skin trauma
  • Early lactation cows and young cattle with potential nutritional deficiencies


  • Wall and toe abscesses
  • Premammary dermal sores
  • Layered heel horn erosion and abnormally shaped claws
  • Poor hygiene in interdigital space