Sheep Lameness

Moredun-logoSummary written by Agnes Winter, BVSc PHd DSHP MRCVS

Taken from Moredun Foundation Newsheet Volume 4 No. 7



  • foot-trimming-sheepAs well as resulting in significant economic loss, lameness is an important welfare issue
  • It is unrealistic to expect that lame sheep can totally be eliminated but they should be attended to as soon as practically possible and infectious forms of lameness should be tackled on a flock basis
  • Adequate facilities are necessary to make routine foot care practical to carry out. These include good handling facilities and footbaths appropriate to flock size, as well as good quality foot clippers and knives
  • Feet should not be pared too hard; in particular care must be taken not to cause bleeding, which is painful and which can lead to formation of granulomas (proud flesh)
  • The most important causes of lameness in the national flock are scald and foot rot
  • An apparently new very virulent type of foot rot has recently been reported which may be related to superfoul or digital dermatitis in cows
  • It is important to be aware that infectious forms of lameness can be introduced with bought in sheep
  • Foot health, including shape, horn quality and susceptibility to foot rot may at least partially be inherited; thus more attention could be paid to selecting breeding stock with sound feet



sheep cover2 smSee an interview with Agnes Winter in the 'Lameness and Footcare' module of our DVD 'Managing Your Flock for Peak Health'
- programme 2 in the series 'Sheep on Your Smallholding'.







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