Housing can provide the ideal conditions for a lameness issue in a flock to quickly spread, especially where animals are housed on straw bedding as opposed to a slatted floor.
This has the potential to lead to significant outbreaks, which will be considerably harder to overcome. It will result in increased workload, higher costs in treating affected animals and lost performance.
The target therefore should be to focus on addressing lameness in the weeks ahead and getting on top of any issues in advance of housing.
A start can be made by segregating and batching lame sheep together for intensive treatment. This can include a combination of more regular footbathing and antibiotic treatment where required.
This will also reduce the exposure of healthy sheep to lame sheep and help prevent the spread of disease.
The success rate will be driven by correctly identifying what is causing the lameness
If these animals have not recovered by the time housing is taking place, then housing should be delayed for these or they should be confined to a separate area.
Healthy animals should also be run through a foot bath as a precautionary measure at regular intervals in the run-in to housing.
Root of the problem
The success rate will be driven by correctly identifying what is causing the lameness.
CODD is a disease which has caused untold damage in recent years in this regard, with a specific treatment route required, including antibiotics prescribed by your vet.
Some farmers administer the Footvax vaccine ahead of the high-risk period, which stimulates an immune response and also possesses treatment properties for footrot.
Producers should be aware that extreme caution needs to be practised to prevent self-injection.
Should this occur, medical treatment should be sought immediately, as the Footvax solution is very potent and can lead to serious health problems if left unaddressed.