Dipping the navel should be the first and last thing done when processing newborn calves.
"Dipping the navel of a wet calf has its benefits, but once the calf has had time to dry re-dip as an extra precaution," says Bethany Fisher, calf and heifer specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. Fisher offers the following advice:
• Use 7 percent tincture of iodine designed for navels. Teat dips contain substances that slow down the drying process of the navel and thereby reduce the effectiveness of dipping. Drying the navel makes the healing process go much quicker.
• Make sure to achieve full coverage from tip to abdomen. A navel dip cup is good to use to ensure full coverage of the navel, but be sure dip cups are also cleaned and refilled with new iodine regularly. Spraying the navel is also acceptable, if full coverage is achieved.
• If clipping the navel, be sure equipment used is clean and sanitized. Be advised that clipping the navel too short can expose the opening in the body cavity, making it more readily available to infectious organisms.