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Following a Five Point Plan and Other Useful Info to Combat Sheep Foot Rot.

foot rot


Combat the Problem of Foot Rot with our Five Point Plan 


Foot rot can be a problem for sheep farmers, but help is at hand thanks to our five point plan


Foot rot in sheep may not be a huge problem this year thanks to the earlier dry weather, but it’s worth keeping an eye on as conditions change.


One of the main reasons for lameness problems has been the lack of an industry-wide practical lameness reduction protocol, but thanks to the proven five-point plan, flockmasters now have an effective disease control strategy available to them. The aim is to build flock disease resilience and immunity over time, whilst also reducing the disease challenge. Stick with it and flock lameness incidence can be cut right back within three years.


The five point plan:


  • Treat clinical cases early. This brings strong financial and performance benefits, with a greater proportion of lambs from early treated ewes staying alive and growing faster.
  • Vaccinate animals to stimulate immunity. Vaccination against foot rot should be part of a whole flock approach to disease control. The aim is to raise immunity within the flock to help improve the success of the other disease steps. Footvax vaccination programmes should be tailored to meet individual flock disease control requirements and used in conjunction with the other four plan points. Wherever possible, whole flock vaccination should be adopted.
  • Avoid spreading infection at gathering and handling. Foot rot and scald are infectious bacterial diseases, which can easily spread from animal to animal. Ensure sheep handling areas are clean and well drained; dirty concrete is just as bad as soil.
  • Quarantine incoming animals. Make sure a good procedure is in place to separate bought-in stock for four weeks after purchase.
  • Cull badly or repeatedly affected animals. When a ewe has had more than one bout of foot rot in a season she should be given a cull tag. This will help prevent the cycle of infection. Culling may be high in the first year, but will reduce dramatically thereafter.
  • Minimising lameness is never more important than when trying to finish lambs or make sure that you can take the best pen of breeding gimmers or ewes to the sale. 


Identifying the specific lameness problem will allow you to choose the most appropriate products to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.  Ask at your local branch if you are unsure of the particular problem in your flock.


Dealing with lameness before selling sheep


Below is a guide depending upon the issue when using topical products.

Foot bathing, topical sprays/pastes should be applied:-

  • Scald/mild Footrot 7 days prior to sale
  • Footrot   14 and 7 days prior to sale
  • CODD treat in combination - three times at 21, 14 and 7 days prior to sale


Dealing with bought in sheep 

Minimising the potential for anything to be passed on to your existing flock is essential. When buying in sheep, ensure you’re not introducing any further issues to your flock. Always check feet after buying and before mixing with other sheep. There is a lot of contact between sheep at auction marts, when several thousand can be going through the same sale on the same day.

Quarantine- ideally for two weeks post purchase before introducing to your main flock as this will give you time to see if any issues develop and you can then deal with them to stop anything being passed on.

Footbathing - is a good option, as sheep can be run through footbaths easily. 

Topical pastes and sprays - can be an option when rams or small numbers of sheep are bought. Kling-on Blue Sheep Footbath contains copper and zinc which will stay on the hoof for up to three days once dry. There’s no need to hold sheep in the footbath and it’s ideal to use in combination with KOB Hoofpaste, of the same formulation and the only waterproof hoofpaste available, for more challenging conditions. As Kling-on Blue Sheep stays on the hoof this long it allows five times the amount of zinc sulphate to be absorbed into the hoof than standing sheep in zinc sulphate for up to 30 minutes.


Source Details

Newsletter 604

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