Strawberry Footrot


By Emily Stearman, Acting Team Leader - Animal Biosecurity and Welfare
M:  0437 644 714  | E:

Despite the name, Strawberry Footrot is very different from Virulent footrot.

Our district veterinarians in the Murray region have seen numerous cases of Strawberry Footrot this season.  Strawberry Footrot is a nasty disease caused by a combination of bacterial (Dermatophilus congolensis) and viral (a parapox virus) infection.

Separately the bacteria can cause Dermatophilosis (‘Dermo’ in wool), and the virus causes Scabby Mouth, often in young sheep; together, these pathogens generate extravagant lesions around the feet and mouth.

Stressed, naïve stock are highly susceptible to infection, typically during seasons of prolonged wet weather.  Recent movements, mixing of mobs and confinement often increase the number of animals affected by the disease.

The lesions caused by the disease can be severe.  Affected stock may be reluctant to walk and have severe, localised swelling, often extending up the leg.  Feed and water intake may be reduced by the combination of restricted mobility and oral pain if mouth lesions are also present.

The viral component of the disease is zoonotic (contagious to humans). Wearing gloves and other appropriate personal protective equipment when handling sheep with suspicious wounds is recommended.

It is very important that an accurate diagnosis is made so that appropriate treatment can be provided.  Animals often recover from disease within 2-3 weeks when treatment and supportive care are provided. Due to the nature and presentation of this disease, we strongly recommend contacting your local district veterinarian if you see anything similar to the photos above.

View our livestock disease resources for more information.

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