Foot Health Biosecurity — Post Footrot Treatment

Written December 2010, by Dr. Charles F. Parker PhD, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University, for the SARE funded research project “Eliminating the Effects of Footrot on Sheep Flocks in the Northeast”

The possible presence of chronic, non-clinical infected individuals following flock treatment for footrot poses an important management concern. Thus frequent flock observation for re-occurrence of lameness is strongly advised.

Footrot is most generally observed and transmitted within infected flocks during the warm, humid periods of the year. At these times moist soil conditions soften the hoof’s horny tissue making the skin more vulnerable to infection. These same conditions allow more frequent matting of vegetable debris between the toes causing irritation with a “scald” condition and lameness that can be miss identified as footrot.

Footrot is not transmitted among animals when ambient temperatures are below 45 degrees F.

Whenever lamensess is observed, affected individuals should be examined closely; hooves thoroughly trimmed and spray with a 20 percent Zinc Sulfate solution.

If footrot has re-occurred, all animals should be foot bathed with Zinc Sulfate.  Individuals with infected feet should be isolated for further treatment. Move the non-infected portion of the flock to a clean pasture and examine two weeks later for signs of infection. Animals failing to respond to treatment should be culled and marketed for slaughter only.

Annual hoof trimming should be a common management practice. During some years and for certain breeds more frequent trimming may be necessary.

Foot care is a highly important flock health management practice.