Control of footrot in sheep 

Footrot caused by Dichelobacter nodosus is a harmful disease for sheep farming. It is imperative to monitor the flock and implement various control measures against the disease.

Firstly, it is necessary to know the risk factors (humid and temperate periods, muddy areas) and to quickly detect the presence of the disease in the flock. To do this, when lameness is observed, or during hoof trimming, the identity of the animal must be recorded and the severity and intensity of the lesions scored according to scale.

A foot-lameness control plan is mainly preventive by a rigorous evaluation of purchased animals, application of quarantine, and by avoiding contact with other herds.

Moderate lesions can be controlled by external and internal hygiene measures, footbathing, foot trimming and individual antibiotic therapy. The footbath must be carried out correctly (pre-washing, liquid level and concentration of disinfectants, time spent, drying).

If the disease is severe, vaccination and antibiotic therapy will be used, after identification of the strain(s) present in the flock. Finally, culling of worst-affected animals and those with recurring cases helps to progressively eradicate the disease. When the outbreak is very large, a repopulation of the herd should be considered.