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Footrot eradication in sheep flocks in Australia

K. Mills, P. McClenaughan, A. Morton, D. Alley, J. Lievaart, P. A. Windsor, J. R. Egerton

VIRULENT footrot (VFR) is a progressive bacterial disease of the feet of sheep and goats that has animal welfare and economic implications for affected flocks. In 1988, a state-wide programme of VFR eradication began in New South Wales, Australia; the programme was successful and in 2009 the state was declared formally free of the disease. This study reviewed the records from sheep flocks that were quarantined as part of the eradication programme, to identify and compare the options chosen for eradication of the disease.

Records for 196 flocks in two Rural Lands Protection Board areas were analysed. The flocks had been quarantined because they were an in an area that had achieved ‘control’ or ‘protected’ status for footrot, or because they represented a risk of infection to neighbouring farms that had already eradicated VFR. The approved eradication programmes used by the flocks were to destock either the entire flock, or all sheep in known affected mobs; inspect and cull affected animals; inspect, treat with antibiotics and cull non-responders [I/T/C-antibiotics]; or inspect, treat with footbathing and cull non-responders [I/T/C-footbath]. …

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