7 June 2002

Campaign to curtail foot-rot

ESTABLISHING the extent of foot-rot in Scotlands sheep flock and finding the most successful ways to control it are the aims of a questionnaire launched at Scot Sheep 2002.

Brian Hosie, deputy head of SACs vet science division, said almost all shepherds in Scotland had first-hand experience of foot-rot in sheep.

"The accepted treatment and control methods are many and varied. What we aim to establish with this survey, which will also be carried out at the Royal Highland Show, is what methods of control are widely used and with what results," he said.

"The results of the foot-rot survey, which we hope to publish in late July, will help determine the most appropriate advice on best practice for Scottish sheep producers."

In particular, SAC vets are interested in identifying the prevalence of virulent foot-rot, the more severe form of disease now being seen around Britain.

"It seems to be caused by the bacteria that cause foot-rot, Bacteroides nodosus and Fusobacterium necrophorum, with something else on top that we dont yet fully understand," said Mr Hosie.

"It does not respond to normal foot rot treatment and can be so severe that the hoof is actually lost."

SAC specialist sheep vet John Vipond added that spread of virulent foot-rot makes it essential not to let farm biosecurity slip. "Any contractors coming on to the farm must disinfect their equipment fully."

FOOT-ROT SURVEY

* Reviewing control options.

* Will find virulent incidence.

&#8226 Reviewing control options.

&#8226 Will find virulent incidence.