Article Text

Risk factors associated with the prevalence of interdigital dermatitis in sheep from 1999 to 2000
  1. G. J. Wassink, PhD, Ir,
  2. L. E. Green, BVSc, MSc (Epid), PhD, MECVPH, MRCVS1,
  3. R. Grogono-Thomas, BVetMed, BSc, MSc, PhD, CertSHP and
  4. L. J. Moore, BSc, PhD2
  1. 1 Ecology and Epidemiology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL
  2. 2 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Division of Animal Health and Husbandry, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
  1. Correspondence to Dr Green


As part of an investigation into improving the treatment and control of lameness in sheep flocks in England and Wales, a postal survey was conducted in November 2000. Farmers were asked to estimate the prevalence of footrot and interdigital dermatitis in their flocks. In the ewes the prevalence of interdigital dermatitis remained relatively stable throughout the year, but there was a large increase in lambs during late spring and early summer. Logistic regression models were used to assess statistically significant risk factors associated with prevalences of the condition of 5 per cent or more in ewes and 10 per cent or more in lambs. Factors that increased the risk in ewes were ‘sometimes/never’ catching lame sheep compared with ‘always’ farm land 100 m or less above sea level and renting-in winter grazing; factors that increased the risk in lambs were a prevalence of 5 per cent or more of footrot in ewes, ‘sometimes/never’ catching lame ewes compared with ‘always’, ‘sometimes/never’ treating ewes with footrot with parenteral antibiotics compared with ‘always’ showing sheep at agricultural events, farm land 100 m or less above sea level, and a prevalence of 5 per cent or more of interdigital dermatitis in ewes. Turning sheep on to a field which had been free from livestock for at least two weeks after footbathing decreased the risk of interdigital dermatitis in lambs. Footbathing without the use of a clean field compared with not footbathing did not significantly affect the prevalence of the interdigital dermatitis.

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