Article Text

A field study of the effect of lameness on mechanical nociceptive thresholds in sheep
  1. SJ Ley,
  2. AE Waterman and
  3. A Livingston
  1. Wellcome Comparative Anaesthetic Laboratory, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Langford, Bristol.


Threshold responses to a mechanical pressure test were measured in two groups of adult female sheep taken from 27 flocks in north Devon. The first group consisted of 470 healthy sheep and the second of 139 sheep suffering from obvious lameness, clinically diagnosed as foot rot. The lame sheep were assessed for the severity of the lesion and the level of lameness and assigned a score. In flocks with sheep with a severe degree of lameness, the sheep had a significantly lower threshold to a mechanical nociceptive stimulus than their matched sound controls and their thresholds remained low when tested three months later, after the apparent resolution of the foot rot lesion. In flocks where the lame sheep were less severely affected there was no difference in the threshold responses to a mechanical stimulus between the sound and lame sheep.

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