Vaccination as an integral part of the industry-accepted Five Point Lameness Reduction Plan can help you reduce significantly the number of lame sheep in your flock.
With a concerted effort you can actually make some quite rapid improvements.
Developed by the independent research organisation FAI Farms, the Five Point Plan is now delivering substantial improvements in flocks that have implemented it. Once lameness is under control you will have a more productive and healthy flock.
1. Understand the principle
The Five Point Plan involves culling persistently lame sheep to build disease resilience throughout the flock, reducing the infection challenge on the farm and improving sheep immunity through vaccination.
2. Getting started
You can implement the Five Point Plan at any time, but a great time to start is post weaning. This reduces the chances of affected sheep carrying and spreading disease to other ewes and lambs the following spring.
3. Identify your system weaknesses
Use the MSD Animal Health Lameness Control Planner to pinpoint any lameness management weaknesses. Here the farm is doing well with Avoid and Vaccination (score of 4 out of 5), but should now focus on Cull, Treat and Quarantine to get lameness problems under control. Ask your vet or SQP for help.
4. Know what you are dealing with
Ask your vet for help to diagnose the cause of any lameness in the flock. You can’t find the solution if you are not clear on the problem.
THE FIVE POINT PLAN
5a. Treat any lame sheep appropriately
Catch sheep within three days of going lame, seek veterinary advice so you are treating them correctly with the right drug for the lameness issue on your particular farm.
5b. Cull repeat offenders
Lame ewes spread disease so an aggressive culling policy should be considered in the first year of controlling lameness. If a ewe is lame more than twice she should be culled.
5c. Avoid the spread of infection
The bacteria that cause lameness problems spread easily from foot-to-foot via the ground. Use hydrated lime around handling areas and high traffic situations around feed troughs at pasture.
5d. Quarantine incoming animals
Bought in replacement ewes and rams present a risk of introducing new lameness infections – work with your vet to draw up an appropriate quarantine protocol and consider footbathing on arrival.
5e. Vaccinate on a whole flock basis
Carry out routine vaccination with FOOTVAX® to coincide with periods of high disease risk such as at winter housing. Discuss the most appropriate vaccination protocol with your vet and follow the product usage instructions.
6. Avoid routine foot trimming
Routine foot trimming has been shown to spread infection via the hoof shears and can delay recovery.
Watch the 5 Point Lameness Reduction Plan video
Use medicines responsibly. For more information visit: www.noah.co.uk/responsible