Sheep Connect Tasmania - AWI

Type: Factsheet
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

A very useful guide should you need information and advice on controlling or eradicating footrot, or just wish to improve you knowledge.


A guide to identification and control in the field

This is a Sheep Connect Tasmania guide to identifying footrot in the field, and provides and excellent overview of the disease.

Footrot is a disease of sheep and goats, caused by the bacteria Dichelobacter nodosus, and is highly contagious. Footrot is typically diagnosed clinically as virulent or benign, with this guide focusing on virulent footrot.

The purpose of this publication is to encourage best-practice footrot diagnosis, control and eradication, with the objective of building a sustainable Australian wool industry through improvements in productivity and profitability.

Better diagnosis and control of footrot should result in:

  • healthier, more productive sheep
  • easier trading between flocks
  • lower treatment and labour costs
  • increased confidence in state-based control programs

This guide will take you through the following:

  1. an overview, covering what virulent footrot is, how it is spread, animal susceptibility, economic and welfare impacts, and also the potential for fly strike starting in footrot lesion
  2. identifying footrot in the field, starting with identifying lameness, including diagrams on how to foot score lesions (a measure of severity), and other foot conditions that may be mistaken for footrot. A clinical definition of virulent footrot is also included
  3. laboratory diagnosis. This chapter covers the procedures for collecting samples for determining virulence of the infecting strain of D. nodosus, and also the serogroup of that strain, which must be known in order to use a specific vaccine. The laboratory methods listed here are a combination of culture, where the bacteria is grown, and molecular methods
  4. taking a sample – these guidelines must be passed onto your veterinarian if you wish to use the laboratory for a diagnosis or serogroup identification. It includes when and how to take a sample, and the different samples needed
  5. eradication, control, inspections, and footbath design/construction. This is a large part of the guide, and contains a lot of pertinent and practical advice that has real life applicability. Topics like culling, inspections, and footbathing chemicals are covered, as well as surveillance and biosecurity practices to ensure your hard work does not go to waste
  6. case studies and a very handy glossary are provided also, to help encourage the control and better understanding of the disease

This guide is very useful for expanding your knowledge, not only about footrot as a disease, but the best practice for control and treatment. It also demonstrates and offers different practices, to help you decide on what may be most appropriate for you situation. This is also very useful to share with your vet or footrot contractor, and should help with the development of a program should you need one.

2016 - Australia - Sheep Connect Tasmania - AWI
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