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Digital dermatitis treponemes associated with a severe foot disease in dairy goats
  1. L. E. Sullivan1,
  2. N. J. Evans1,
  3. S. R. Clegg1,
  4. S. D. Carter1,
  5. J. E. Horsfield2,
  6. D. Grove- White3 and
  7. J. S. Duncan3
  1. 1Department of Infection Biology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Science Park ic2, 146 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 5RF, UK
  2. 2Lanes Veterinary Group, Green Lane Veterinary Centre, Leachfield Industrial Estate, Green Lane West, Cabus, Garstang PR3 1PR, UK
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Neston, Wirral CH64 7TE, UK
  1. Correspondence to E-mail for correspondence: l.sullivan{at}


A UK dairy goat herd was assessed after reports of a severe lameness problem of unknown aetiology. A lameness prevalence estimate was produced and individual clinical examination of 15 randomly selected lame goats was performed. Fifteen animals had foot lesions closely resembling contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) in sheep. Eight of the goats examined presented with typical CODD lesions and seven showed what appeared to be a more severe CODD with under-running of the sole. Ten biopsy samples were obtained from the foot lesions and tested by PCR for the three previously isolated digital dermatitis (DD) Treponema phylogroups and culture of treponemes was attempted. Ninety per cent of the biopsy samples were positive for Treponema medium/Treponema vincentii-like spirochaetes and Treponema phagedenis-like DD spirochaetes and 80per cent were positive for Treponema pedis. Spirochaetes were successfully isolated from 50 per cent of lesion samples. Three isolates were identified as belonging to the T. phagedenis-like spirochaetes and two were identified as T. pedis. The frequent isolation of similar treponemes to those isolated from bovine digital dermatitis and CODD lesions and the identification of these DD-associated phylotypes in the vast majority of lesions support the hypothesis that this novel foot condition is associated with infection by DD treponemes, and given the similarities to CODD, it suggests a causal role.

  • Spirochetes
  • Cattle
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Lameness
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