Using vaccination for footrot

This page contains information about using Footvax™. Watch the video below from MSD (the manufacturers of Footvax™) for more information on how to administer the vaccine using a vaccinator.

When to use the vaccine

  • If you have footrot throughout the year, you can give the vaccine every 6 months.
  • If footrot flares up at certain times of year, you can plan the timing of vaccination to get maximum protection over the highest risk period for your flock, e.g. if footrot is highest during housing, vaccinate ewes 4 weeks before housing.
  • You may also consider using the vaccine if there is an extended period of time when you will not be able to handle or catch lame sheep e.g. if you are busy over harvest.

Instructions

  1. All adults receive an initial dose of 1mL under the skin just behind the ear.
  2. A second booster injection should be given 4-6 weeks after the first dose.
  3. Boosters should be given every 6 months from this point on, or once each year 4 weeks before your known high risk period.

Important points

  • Injectable wormers containing 1% moxidectin should not be used in sheep treated with Footvax (this can be fatal). If you have used this kind of wormer in the past, please discuss with your vet before vaccinating your flock with Footvax.
  • Do not vaccinate with Footvax 3 weeks either side of another vaccine.
  • The vaccination can cause lumps and abscesses where injected, so avoid vaccinating close to shearing time to avoid injury.
  • If you inject into yourself or a helper go to hospital for immediate treatment, take the vaccine information with you.

Vaccine efficacy

The vaccine lasts about 4 months and is about 60% protective. There will still be sheep that become lame and need treatment.

Financial considerations of vaccination

  • An initial course of vaccination costs approximately £2.00 per ewe and treatment of lame sheep is still necessary.
  • The average cost of a treatment for lameness is £1.20 per ewe.
  • Production costs of lameness vary from £6 – £15 per ewe when lameness is at 6 – 8%.
  • Production costs are very low when lameness is below 2% and sheep are treated promptly.
  • It is therefore complex but important to decide when vaccination is financially worthwhile.

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