Footrot Specific Vaccines

Type: Factsheet
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

When written, this fact sheet stated the promise of this technique for control. Specific vaccination for footrot is now available in some states, and provisionally in others, both through your veterinarian. This guide is a useful measure for what you may be able to achieve through use of these vaccines.

This fact sheet by Sheep Connect Tasmania summarises the process of eradicating virulent footrot using specific vaccines.

Virulent footrot causes significant production loss and animal welfare issues in affected flocks.

A University of Sydney research project started in Tasmania during 2007, using specific vaccines in four medium-sized flocks,and has continued to 20 larger flocks.  A specific vaccine is a custom-made vaccine that targets the strains of Dichelobacter nodosus, the bacteria responsible for footrot, present on your property. Vaccines may be made for single or dual strain infections. If more than two strains are identified on the property, additional testing is required in order to prioritise target strains, and sequentially vaccinate for those present. This fact sheet offers practical step-by-step instructions on how to best use this as a tool to help eradicate or control virulent footrot in your flock.

The key findings were:

  • eradication of virulent footrot is possible where producers can reduce disease prevalence to a level where remaining affected sheep can be culled from the mob
  • specific vaccines can be used to treat known virulent footrot strains and reduce disease prevalence
  • producers using specific vaccines need to know which strains are present in their flock and be vigilant in their  approach to disease eradication and ongoing management
  • ongoing flock monitoring and on-farm biosecurity are critical to keeping footrot at bay post eradication

In conclusion, the fact sheet states that there are some expenses producers must be prepared for, and although results are not guaranteed, vaccination is a promising tool for the control and/or eradication of virulent footrot. Post vaccination inspections are critical and must be carried out thoroughly if the eradication attempt is to be successful.

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