Cows should be able to walk pain-free

from €10.000 (35%)

The problem

Cows with painful open sores on their hooves suffer from Mortellaro’s disease, a bacterial infection of the moist interdigital space of a cow's hoof. As a result, any cow with Mortellaro’s disease has trouble walking, and certainly not without pain. 

At present, Mortellaro’s disease is most commonly treated using antibiotics. However, other, and possibly more effective, alternatives are available, such as an antibacterial spray or a type of band-aid specially developed for cattle.

What we want to do

We aim to test these two treatments at a number of dairy farms attached to the university’s livestock veterinary practice. The treatments will be administered in a randomised clinical trial (RCT). In an RCT, the ‘sample population’ - the cattle suffering from Mortellaro’s disease - are randomly split into two equal-sized groups of cattle.  

The cattle in one group are treated using the antibacterial spray, while the other group is given the band-aid. At the end of the treatment, we will examine which treatment method was most effective.

The end result

Veterinarians advising dairy farmers will be able to make immediate use of the results. 


Who I am

I am Dr. Mirjam Nielen, Professor at Utrecht University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, in the Department of Farm Animal Health. 

What I do

I am chair of the research group ‘Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine’, and am charged with developing, implementing and administering clinical epidemiological research. Such research then serves as the foundation for the recommendations practicing veterinarians provide to animal owners. This is what we call ‘evidence-based’ advice. Frequently, evidence-based recommendations are used to draw up guidelines for practising veterinarians. When in doubt, they may follow the guidelines or use them as a reference.

In addition to my research activities, I'm also involved in providing veterinary advice on individual patients (usually companion animals or horses), as well as for groups of patients (usually livestock).

Want to find out more about who me? Click here


Our goal and our funding target

In order to ensure that the research results are reliable, and therefore representative for all of the cattle in the Netherlands, we will need at least 600 hooves. 

The full intake (diagnosis), treatment and follow-up (checking whether the hoof has actually healed) costs € 100 per hoof. We will therefore need at least € 60,000 to conduct this study in an optimal fashion. 

What else does it take? 

Find out below what else it takes to examine, treat and follow up on one hoof (and how much it costs) 

€ 25
Intake for one hoof (at least 600 are needed)

€ 50
Intake and treatment of one hoof

€ 100
Complete follow-up for one hoof