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Farm Animal Practice
Lameness in sheep 1. Diagnosis
  1. Agnes Winter

    Agnes Winter is a senior lecturer and head of the Livestock Health and Welfare Division at Liverpool. She holds the RCVS diploma in sheep health and production and is a recognised RCVS specialist. She has written several books on sheep health and disease and is a pastpresident of the Sheep Veterinary Society.


LAMENESS remains one of the most important welfare issues affecting the sheep industry. Recent estimates suggest that over 80 per cent of flocks contain lame sheep, with a prevalence in some flocks of over 9 per cent for footrot and over 15 per cent for scald. It is difficult to put a figure on what might be considered an acceptable prevalence, as any lame sheep should be a cause for concern; however, in practical terms, a prevalence of 5 per cent or more should certainly prompt an investigation of the cause and implementation of a control programme. This article discusses the differential diagnosis of foot lameness in growing and adult sheep (lameness in young lambs will not be considered). Part 2, which will be published in the next issue, will describe the options for treatment and control.

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