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Metaphylactic gamithromycin treatment for the management of lameness in ewes putatively caused by Bacteroides melaninogenicus
  1. N. D. Sargison, BA, VetMB, PhD, DSHP, DipECSRHM, FRCVS and
  2. P. R. Scott, DVM&S, DSHP, CertCHP, DipECSRHM, DipECBHM, FRCVS
  1. University of Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Farm Animal Practice, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, UK
  1. Correspondence to Scott, e-mail: philip.r.scott{at}

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SUBCUTANEOUS injection of 6 mg/kg gamithromycin, while not licensed for use in sheep, was clinically shown to be effective for metaphylactic treatment of footrot-like lesions, putatively caused by Bacteroides melaninogenicus with secondary involvement of other pathogenic bacteria such as Brevundimonas species. On March 28, 2011, approximately 70 per cent of 180 mule and cross Texel ewes presented with acute, severe lameness. The ewes were pregnant with twin and triplet litters and due to lamb within 10 days. They were housed in two groups in adjacent straw-bedded pens, which were alternately run outside twice a day onto a muddy and stony communal feeding area. There was no evidence of lameness in two groups of about 90 housed single-bearing ewes and about 90 later-lambing ewes that were at pasture. These latter two groups had been separated from the two affected groups about three weeks previously, when the single-bearing ewes were moved into the same shed as the twin- and triplet-bearing ewes, but without access to the outdoor feeding area. The farm also supported a herd of about 80 suckler cattle, some of which were periodically housed in the same building as the sheep.

On clinical examination, about 70 per cent of the twin- and triplet-bearing ewes were non-weightbearing and several remained in sternal recumbency for long periods before rising. The interdigital skin of the affected feet was oedematous and covered …

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