16 March 2001

Sheep guide

MAFF has re-issued guidance on identifying foot-and-mouth in sheep in response to concerns that the disease is going unnoticed in flocks.

Sudden death of healthy lambs, abortion, short-term lameness, listlessness and lack of appetite could be the first signs of foot-and-mouth infection. When observed in a flock, individual animals must then be inspected.

In the mouth, fluid-filled blisters will quickly burst leaving erosions or ulcers particularly on the dental pad of the upper jaw, where the lower teeth touch the pad. These erosions can also be found on gums, lips and the tongue and may be very small.

Foot lesions are less common, but blisters may be seen between claws, on the heel bulbs and the coronary band – turn back hair over the coronary band to check for horn separation.