Correct diagnosis key to beating lameness: What farmers need to know

Improving the management of flock lameness problems is one of the top animal health priorities for UK sheep producers.

Foot health was top of the agenda for farmers attending a ‘solving lameness’ meeting at Furze Farms, Peopleton, Worcestershire, said Phillipa Page of Flock Health.

The event was courtesy of Home Farm Nurseries and organised by farm shepherd Anthony Warmington.

Ms Page said: “It is the one disease area sheep farmers consistently ask me questions about.”

Highlighting the important ‘plan, prevent and protect’ approach to tackling any disease issue on-farm, Ms Page said any plan to tackle lameness must start with a correct diagnosis.

She said: “When it comes to foot problems, you have to know what you are dealing with. Ask your vet for advice. If you are struggling to get on top of a lameness problem, it may be that you have multiple disease problems involved, such as footrot, contagious ovine digital dermatitis [CODD] and scald.”

She added that every flock situation was different and an assessment of farm-specific disease risk factors, such as seasonal trends, hygiene, housing, handling areas and field management, was also important.

“Only then can you come up with the right farm-specific disease control measures,” she said.