Footrot and contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) are common causes of foot disease of sheep in the UK. The study reported here is a split flock randomised treatment trial undertaken on a group of 748 fattening lambs on a UK sheep farm affected by CODD and footrot. The sheep were randomly assigned to one of two treatment protocols. In protocol A, all sheep were given two doses of footrot vaccine (Footvax, MSD), plus targeted antibiotic therapy (long-acting amoxicillin, Betamox LA, Norbrook Pharmaceuticals) to sheep with foot lesions likely to be associated with a bacterial infection. In protocol B, the sheep only received targeted antibiotic therapy. Sheep were re-examined and foot lesions recorded five and nine weeks later. New infection rates in the footrot vaccinated group were lower compared with the vaccinated group for both CODD (18.2 per cent compared with 26.4 per cent, P=0.014) and footrot (12.55 per cent compared with 27.5 per cent, P<0.001). Recovery rates were unaffected for CODD (80.46 per cent compared with 70.97 per cent, P=0.14) but higher for footrot (92.09 per cent compared with 81.54 per cent, P=0.005) in sheep which received the vaccine. On this farm, a footrot vaccine efficacy of 62 per cent was identified against footrot and 32 per cent against CODD infection. An association between a sheep having footrot at visit 1 and subsequently acquiring CODD was identified (odds ratio [OR] 3.83, 95 per cent CI 2.61 to 5.62, P<0.001). These results suggest a role for infection with Dichelobacter nodosus in the aetiopathogenesis of CODD on this farm.
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed