Lameness in sheep

By Sally Osborne
Senior Biosecurity Officer
P: 03 5881 9918 | M:  0407 496 714

  • There are many causes of lameness in sheep, some of which are notifiable in NSW.
  • Biosecurity, monitoring and foot bathing are central to preventing and managing lameness
  • Contact your District Vet or Biosecurity Officer if you have lameness concerns

With current seasonal conditions producing plenty of green pasture there are a few things to be on the watch for in sheep flocks. One of these is an increase in lameness.  Lameness can be caused by many different reasons including foot abscess and footrot.

It is important to know what is causing any lameness in your flock. Having an accurate diagnosis when you first notice increasing lameness will give the best outcome possible.

With sheep being so valuable and being moved all over the country, it is important to rule out virulent footrot as the cause of lameness. Virulent footrot is characterised by a moisture between the toes that progresses to underrunning which causes separation between the layers of the sole of the sheep’s foot.

Footrot in a flock can be devastating. The earlier a diagnosis is made the less chance of it spreading to other mobs of sheep. The sooner a control program is put in place the less impact the disease will have. Local Land Services Veterinarians can diagnose footrot and assist in forming a plan to eradicate it.

So, be on the lookout for lameness and report any issues to your nearest Local Land Services.

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