Research says singling out sheep will save 1.3 million from lameness

October 14, 2008

New research from the University of Warwick published today in the journal BMC Veterinary Research suggests that a simple cheap individual approach to the care of sheep could slash the incidence of lameness in sheep saving 1.3 million sheep from lameness in the UK alone

Around 1.6 million of the UK's sheep are afflicted with lameness and 80% of that is due to the disease footrot. Footrot is infectious, caused by the bacterium Dichelobacter nodosus. Previous studies have shown that the rapid treatment of a sheep with footrot increases its rate of recovery and decreases transmission of the infection to other sheep yet lameness figures in many flocks seem to persist around the 10% level and 80% of that lameness is due to footrot.

The Warwick researchers wanted to find out why the disease seemed to persist at that level when they had found that cheap treatments are available that can produce a rapid recovery. The researchers first looked if sheep farmers were facing problems in identifying lame sheep.

Warwick researchers Professor Laura Green and Dr Jasmeet Kaler asked more than 230 farmers and sheep specialists to watch video clips of individual sheep and then say whether they thought the sheep was lame or not. They were then asked about when they would catch the sheep for inspection and treatment, or whether they would wait until more sheep in the flock displayed a similar severity of lameness.

In fact they found that almost all the study participants correctly identified lame sheep in need of further investigation, eg those with an uneven posture, a shorter stride in one leg or a slight nodding of the head as they moved. However they found a surprising split on how farmers then treated lame sheep. The researchers did find that 50% of farmers did move to catch, investigate and treat individual lame sheep within 72 hours of them exhibiting lameness however the remaining 50% took significant longer to respond leading to increased opportunities for the infection to spread. When farmers did act quickly disease rates fell dramatically and overall flock lames fell from around 10% to 2% of the flock.

Why then do 50% farmers and sheep specialists take longer to respond? The researchers believe this is simply down to different philosophies of flock management. Some farmers, put their efforts into more interventions treating all or a large section of a flock at the same time, other farmers might not have the right equipment or skilled dogs to isolate and catch individual sheep on a regular basis. Now that this research has identified the value of early identification and treatment of footrot it is hoped those farmers will ensure that they have the resources to intervene quickly to regularly inspect and treat individual lame sheep

Professor Laura Green said "Our study indicates that farmers have the skills to follow the current advice about how to minimise lameness in sheep and prevent the spread of footrot among their flock. They should inspect - and treat appropriately - the first mildly lame sheep in a group within one to three days of it first being lame"
-end-
Note for editors the full article is entitled:

"Recognition of lameness and decisions to catch for inspection among sheep farmers and specialists in GB" by Jasmeet Kaler and Laura E Green - University of Warwick

Published in BMC Veterinary Research

University of Warwick

Related Infection Articles from Brightsurf:

Halving the risk of infection following surgery
New analysis by the University of Leeds and the University of Bern of more than 14,000 operations has found that using alcoholic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) halves the risk of infection in certain types of surgery when compared to the more commonly used povidone-iodine (PVI).

How plants shut the door on infection
A new study by an international team including University of Maryland scientists has discovered the key calcium channel responsible for closing plant pores as an immune response to pathogen exposure.

Sensing infection, suppressing regeneration
UIC researchers describe an enzyme that blocks the ability of blood vessel cells to self-heal.

Boost to lung immunity following infection
The strength of the immune system in response to respiratory infections is constantly changing, depending on the history of previous, unrelated infections, according to new research from the Crick.

Is infection after surgery associated with increased long-term risk of infection, death?
Whether experiencing an infection within the first 30 days after surgery is associated with an increased risk of another infection and death within one year was the focus of this observational study that included about 660,000 veterans who underwent major surgery.

Revealed: How E. coli knows how to cause the worst possible infection
The discovery could one day let doctors prevent the infection by allowing E. coli to pass harmlessly through the body.

UK study shows most patients with suspected urinary tract infection and treated with antibiotics actually lack evidence of this infection
New research presented at this week's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 13-16, 2019) shows that only one third of patients that enter the emergency department with suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) actually have evidence of this infection, yet almost all are treated with antibiotics, unnecessarily driving the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Bacteria in urine doesn't always indicate infection
Doctors should think carefully before testing patients for a urinary tract infection (UTI) to avoid over-diagnosis and unnecessary antibiotic treatment, according to updated asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Subsidies for infection control to healthcare institutions help reduce infection levels
Researchers compared three types of infection control subsidies and found that under a limited budget, a dollar-for-dollar matching subsidy, in which policymakers match hospital spending for infection control measures, was the most effective at reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections.

Dengue virus infection may cause severe outcomes following Zika virus infection during pregnancy
This study is the first to report a possible mechanism for the enhancement of Zika virus progression during pregnancy in an animal model.

Read More: Infection News and Infection Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.