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Diagnosing and managing footrot in sheep: an update
  1. Laura Green and
  2. Rachel Clifton

Abstract

In 2011, the Farm Animal Welfare Council proposed that by 2021 the prevalence of lameness in a flock of sheep should average less than 2 per cent. This has been made possible using the considerable amount of UK research into lameness, and footrot in particular, that has occurred since 2000. The average prevalence of lameness has already fallen as farmers adopt new recommended management practices: in 2004 the average prevalence of lameness was 10.2 per cent. By 2013 this had fallen to 3.5 per cent. This article summarises the current recommended approaches to diagnosis, treatment and control of footrot in sheep. It highlights that routine foot trimming is an unnecessary and potentially harmful procedure that contributes to the prevalence of lameness in some flocks. Where farmers practise the recommended management techniques the prevalence of lameness has been shown to fall to 2 per cent.

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