The autumn conditions in the region have been great for grass growth but are also providing some challengeswith animal health. Warmth and moisture have provided good conditions initially for interdigital dermatitis (scald) followed by the spread of footrot in infected flocks. This challenge phase has resulted in moderate to high infection levels in many flocks, particularly in fine wool.
What can be done now: winter conditions will begin to limit the spread from sheep to sheep. Troughing in zinc sulphate is an effective control measure. Removing obvious cases from the flock will help but will not provide effective control until scald has stopped occurring.
It is important to use the winter as an opportunity to reduce the level of infection before the usual challenge period in the spring.
Once scald is under control:
- Tip sheep to identify chronic cases to remove from flock and treat
- Put "clean" mob on pasture that hasn't had sheep graze it prior
- Re-inspect "clean" and treatment mobs 2 weeks later.
This is a time consuming exercise but if completed well can reset the clock on footrot. Micotil antibiotic has shown in trial work to achieve high cure rates and we are seeing these repeated on farms around the district. Troughing can be effective if facilities allow sufficient contact time. Accurate identification of cases is important so we provide on farm training in correctly diagnosing footrot. Contact your local Vet Centre for any advice or development of a footrot control plan.