Footrot is a disease of the foot of cattle, sheep and goats. It is caused by a bacterial infection and characterised by dermatitis of the skin between the claws. It can also involve under-running of the horn.
In some States footrot is a notifiable disease.
In sheep, footrot regulations vary between States with regard to diagnosis and management.
Conditions when footrot is likely to occur
- Wet, warm environments that allow footrot to express.
- Merinos are more susceptible to footrot than British-breed sheep.
- In feedlots when conditions are wet and muddy.
Identifying and diagnosing footrot
Footrot should be suspected in lame animals, especially if conditions are wet, warm or muddy. Footrot in sheep is classified as benign, intermediate or virulent.
Prevention strategies for footrot
- Developing and implementing a farm biosecurity plan.
- Inspecting the feet of as many sheep as possible before purchase.
- Purchasing sheep with an animal health statement/valid footrot vendor declaration.
- Placing sheep in quarantine on arrival.
- Inspecting rams before putting with the ewes.
- Cleaning and disinfecting boots after walking on ground where infected animals have been.
- Preventing muddy conditions developing in feedlot pens.
- More information on footrot in sheep is available on the following State department websites:
- Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation
- New South Wales Department of Industry & Investment
- Department of Primary Industries Victoria
- Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
- New South Wales Department of Industry & Investment publication Cattle health in feedlots
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