2013-08-21   facebooktwitterrss
Now’s A Good Time To Start Stamping Out Lameness

The current post-weaning period is the perfect time to start culling out persistent lameness offenders from sheep flocks.

That’s the message from sheep lameness expert Ruth Clements, head of veterinary programmes at FAI Farms. She also says present weather conditions are right for the industry to take a major step forward towards controlling this debilitating disease.

Ruth Clements, FAI Farms

Ruth Clements, FAI Farms

“The dry summer this year also means the disease challenge is relatively low at the moment and the next few weeks provide the ideal opportunity for sheep producers to start implementing the proven five-point lameness reduction plan in their own flocks.”

Vaccination against footrot also plays a key role in reducing lameness along with the other four points of the plan – all designed to build disease resilience, reduce the infection challenge on a farm and establish flock immunity.

“A vaccination regime should be implemented in addition to culling any ewes that have been treated twice for lameness. And housing or scanning time can be a good time to begin vaccinating for footrot. I strongly urge producers concerned about the disease – and many are – to discuss implementing the five-point plan with their vet as soon as possible.” Ruth Clements says.

The five-point plan involves culling, quarantining incoming animals, treating lameness cases as soon as possible, avoiding infection spread during handling, gathering and in the field and vaccination. The plan has been implemented successfully over four years on 3000 ewes at three commercial farms.

At FAI’s own farm in Oxford flock lameness incidence was cut from the national average of around 18% to less than 2% within the first year. And over the last three years lameness incidence has been maintained below 1%.


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