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IN the UK, Streptococcus dysgalactiae is the most common cause of infectious arthritis (joint ill) in lambs aged up to four weeks (Watkins and Sharp 1998). Relatively little is known about the disease and much of this is limited to Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency – Weybridge (AHVLA - Weybridge) and Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) reports (eg Anon 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011a, b, c). The aims of this paper are to describe the characteristics of affected flocks in England and Wales, the application of treatment regimens and the antimicrobial resistance status of ovine S dysgalactiae isolates.
Affected flocks were defined as having at least 2 per cent of lambs showing clinical signs consistent with joint ill from which S dysgalactiae was isolated from joint fluid from at least one lamb. During 2008, 2009 and 2010, affected flocks in England and Wales were identified via the AHVLA - Weybridge database or direct notification from veterinary surgeons or flock owners who had been encouraged to participate via rural press, word of mouth and during conference attendance.
A questionnaire containing 50 questions on the general attributes of the flock, management practices during lambing and lamb disease history was administered to flock owners via post, telephone interview or farm visit. In addition, those flocks which were identified at the time of a disease outbreak were visited and …