Footrot causes 50 cases of lameness /100 sheep/annum. It causes pain and reduced body condition and growth rate. FAWC (2011) proposed that by 2021 lameness should be reduced from the current prevalence of 10% lame sheep/flock to 2%. Current research has shown that correct diagnosis of the cause of lameness, together with correct treatment, can reduce levels to <2%. Many farmers also use preventive measures to control lameness: selective culling, vaccination, foot-bathing, foot-trimming and selection of non-lame replacement sheep are used by farmers to prevent lameness, although the evidence of benefit is limited.
We propose the development and testing of a holistic lameness control plan (LCP) that would incorporate various treatment and prevention methods. The detailed LCP will be combine current evidence and farm managements and tested on treatment and control flocks over 2 years. Ideally, a final plan will be developed that gives vets, advisors and farmers a tool with a ‘must, should, could’ guide on how to best prevent lameness with a given flock management.