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Practice Tip
Amputation of the ovine digit
  1. Phil Scott

    Phil Scott graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 1978. For the past 13 years he has worked in the Large Animal Practice at the 'Dick', for the past six years as director. During this time he has gained the certificate and diploma in sheep health and production, the certificate in cattle health and production, an FRCVS for a thesis on the clinical diagnosis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and a DVM&S for his studies on the factors affecting the perinatal mortality rate of lambs.


THE main indication for digit amputation in the sheep is septic pedal arthritis which occurs not uncommonly, affecting individual animals on intensively managed sheep units. It results in chronic severe lameness, reduced production and rapid loss of body condition. As such, it represents a serious welfare concern. Deep penetrating wounds of the sole or deep infections secondary to solar ulceration, meanwhile, are very uncommon in sheep, although infection may result from traumatic injury - particularly if an object penetrates at the coronary band and is directed distally.

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