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Addressing Foot Rot in Sheep Through Five Steps

12 January 2015

FAI Farms

ANALYSIS - A five point flock management programme means farmers now have a strong chance of controlling sheep lameness levels.

Doing so would address a condition currently costing the UK sheep industry £140 million annually, say researchers and advisors at FAI (The Food Animal Initiative), developers of the Five Point Plan for lameness in sheep.

Developed with support from the industry including EBLEX, NSA, SVS, DEFRA, NFU, Farmers Weekly and MSD animal health, the Five Point Plan for Lameness in Sheep was successful on FAI’s own Oxfordshire flock where levels were reduced from over 7 per cent with a season peak of 19 per cent , to less then 2 per cent within 6 months and have been maintained at less than 1 per cent for the last 4 years.

Disease challenge can be halted when all five points are implemented together - Dr Ruth Clements

Ruth Clements, Head of Veterinary Programmes at FAI Farms, has seen producers who have adopted the whole five point plan in a strategic way achieving fantastic success in reducing levels of lameness many achieving the FAWC target of levels of less than 2 per cent .

The plan has received national acceptance, with stake holder organisations offering backing and support to spread the word.

Five Points

    1.  Cull
    2.  Quarantine
    3.  Avoid
    4.  Vaccinate
    5.  Treat

"Lameness in sheep is a huge problem in the UK, both in terms of welfare and the costs associated,” said Dr Clements.

Explaining how the programme works, she added: “When you implement all the five points of the plan together as a programme, you’re able to halt the spread of disease challenge and also build resilience and immunity, reducing the burden of foot rot and scald.

“I would emphasise that it is crucial to implement all five action points of the plan concurrently and with equal focus for the programme to be as effective as possible.”

Further Reading

You can view a report on the Five Point Plan by clicking here.

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