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Footrot is a contagious bacterial disease of the feet of sheep with significant welfare and economic impacts. While the number of flocks with virulent (severe) strains of footrot has been reduced considerably over the last 20 years, footrot remains a serious disease.
Virulent footrot can be eradicated from flocks but at considerable expense. Success is often season-dependent as wet, warm conditions favour footrot. Less virulent strains can cause considerable lameness and production loss but may not be eradicable.
Regulations with regard to the diagnosis and management of footrot in sheep vary between states, but in some states, footrot is a notifiable disease.
A Farmer Footrot Tool is available which helps enable footrot-affected producers to understand the financial cost of the disease on their farm and to evaluate the cost effectiveness of different strategies to control or eradicate the disease.
Three versions of ‘Footrot: A guide to identification and control in the field’ are available – one for Tasmania, one for South Australia and one for New South Wales. The ute guide outlines the disease’s cause, symptoms, treatment, management and eradication options.
Current and Recent Projects
An AWI funded project, which commenced in 2018/19, with the University of Sydney and Treidlia Biovet, to investigate a new multivalent vaccine formulation has recently been completed. The study has provided valuable insights into best management practice of footrot, helping woolgrowers whose flocks are affected by footrot, prevent productivity and profitability losses, as well as improve animal welfare. Results from this project have been used to update an Eradicating virulent footrot using specific vaccines factsheet.
Project Final Report – Development of footrot vaccine best practice – June 2020
- Click here to download the Project Final Report
Factsheet – Eradicating Virulent Footrot Using Specific Vaccines – July 2020
- Click here to download the Factsheet