Reports of a higher incidence of scald in young lambs have been intermittent in recent weeks.

Scald occurs when bacteria present in soil or faeces gains access through damaged skin and establishes an infection.

The characteristic symptoms are a pink-red inflammation between the hoof claws and this is typically combined with a white or grey paste-like scum on the surface of the skin.

The ailment is generally very painful, resulting in the movement of lambs being greatly curtailed. If left untreated, performance can be hit hard.

Early intervention

As such, early intervention is important to underpin performance and also prevent cases spreading. Untreated cases can progress to footrot.

Footbathing is an effective treatment, but can be difficult with young lambs until they become accustomed to passing through a footbath. Individual treatment can be best utilised with application of an appropriate aerosol foot spray or mixed solution.

The two most common footbath products continue to be copper and zinc solution diluted at a rate of 10%, while formalin (dilution rate of 3% to 5%) is also a relatively common product. However, formalin can be hard on young lambs and result in a hardening of the hoof.

Take care to wear protective eye wear and clothing where footbathing young lambs that have to be handled into the bath to avoid product splashing solution into your eyes.

Adequate ventilation is also important where working with formalin, as, if used incorrectly, it can have significant consequences for human health.