Foot rot in sheep

foot rot is an infectious, contagious disease of sheep that causes severe lameness and economic loss from decreased flock productivity.
It is caused by the bacteria, Dichelobacter nodosus (Bacteriodes nodosus). Before that, other bacteria may have played some role.

The organism can only live in the soil or environment for no more than 10 days.

Foot rot will spread most rapidly when it is warm and moist.

The bacterium is shed from infected sheep to the environment, the ground, manure and bedding. Susceptible sheep get infected from there.
The disease usually occurs following the purchase of an infected animal or using same truck that was used to transport an infected animal.
The infection can also be spread through hoof trimming equipment that are not disinfected after each use.

Prevention and Treatment

All affected tissue should be trimmed away.This is necessary to expose the organism to medication and oxygen.

Apply Zinc sulfate or Copper sulfate (10% solution) as footbath. This can be done twice in a week for several weeks.

Antibiotic injection : procaine penicillin and long acting tetracycline are effective. Penicillin and streptomycin combination is very effective against foot rot.

There are other topical treatments for foot rot if you discuss with your local veterinarian.

Never buy sheep from a flock infected with foot rot, even if the animal appears unaffected.

Avoid buying sheep at livestock markets.

Never transport sheep in a vehicle that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected.

Have a routine hoof trimming for your flock. Always disinfect the equipment after each use.

Note: Antibiotics should never be used on animals that are intended for slaughter before an adequate withdrawal time.

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