14 June 2002

GETTING TO GRIPS

WITH FOOT-ROT

A new survey will determine the most appropriate

foot-rot advice for Scottish sheep farmers

SCIENTISTS hope to use a farmer survey at the Royal Highland Show to determine the extent of foot rot in Scotlands national sheep flock.

SAC wants farmers to complete a short questionnaire on foot rot to identify producers attitude to the problem and what they do to control or treat it.

The results will be used to determine the most appropriate advice on the best practice for Scottish sheep farmers.

Brian Hosie, deputy head of SAC veterinary science division, says: "The survey will assist experts in foot rot to devise the most appropriate protocol for tackling this disease in Scottish flocks."

Almost all shepherds and sheep farmers in Scotland have first hand experience of foot rot in sheep, says Mr Hosie.

Control methods

The accepted treatment and control methods include foot trimming, the use of footbaths and vaccination, with antibiotic or other sprays and antibiotic treatment also used to treat individual animals with foot rot.

Urging producers to take part in the survey, he points out that virulent foot rot was eradicated in New South Wales, Australia, through concerted action driven by farmer-led groups.