Controlling lameness in your flock

Footrot is the most common cause of lameness in sheep in the UK. There are two stages to the disease: scald (interdigital dermatitis) and severe footrot. Below are some key points for controlling footrot in your flock. For more information use the menu on the right of the page.

Footrot is an infectious disease.

Footrot is an infectious disease that needs to be prevented from spreading between sheep. Our research indicates that more emphasis needs to be placed on this fact. If you find sheep lame with footrot:

  • Treat within 3 days with antibiotic injection and spray
  • Do not trim the feet at all
  • If possible, separate sheep with footrot or scald from the flock

Avoid foot trimming

We investigated routine lameness managements in sheep. This work shows that routine foot trimming:

  • where bleeding occurs can lead to long term lameness
  • can permanently damage the shape of the foot
  • is probably unnecessary on many farms
  • should not be part of a footrot control programme

Do not foot trim sheep with overgrown feet unless it is affecting their ability to walk – on many farms long feet will wear away naturally.

Include lameness in your flock health plan

Speak to your vet to find out more about how you can incorporate management of lameness into your flock health plan.