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Sea-change on Lameness Treatment

20 January 2015

ENGLAND – Farmers are beginning to tackle sheep lameness differently, says the English Beef and Lamb Executive.

Half of farmers are treating earlier and 45 per cent are culling chronic cases, according to surveys of producers who attended EBLEX sheep lameness tutorials last year.

Standard foot trimming practices are also being questioned, with many attendees saying they are more likely to stop trimming as result of attending the events.

Farmer recognition of scald and footrot was strong, although contagious ovine digital dermatitis was less easily recognised with 58 per cent of farmers correctly identifying the condition, the survey revealed.

It found that only four per cent would use a veterinarian to diagnose foot lameness.

Foot trimming once or twice a year is undertaken by 35 per cent of farmers and eight per cent trim three or more times a year, “despite being shown to be counter-productive”.

“If the English sheep industry is to tackle its significant lameness problem, it’s essential that farmers know what they are treating, and treat accordingly, as mis-diagnosis can lead to prolonged lameness, extra costs and ineffective treatment,” said Steve Duckley of EBLEX.

“Farmers should use the vet to diagnose lesions if they have concerns or an ongoing issue that isn’t improving.”

Further Reading

You can read more about lameness in sheep by clicking here.

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