Towcester Farm Vets were delighted with their first on-farm meeting held in September this year. Hosted by kind permission of George Mayo at Handley Barn, the topic for discussion was ‘Sheep Lameness – Lesion Recognition, Treatment and Control’.
The afternoon was supported by MSD Animal Health and the afternoon started with a presentation by Kat, a vet from MSD, on the importance of lesion recognition and appropriate treatment, the Five Point Plan for lameness reduction on farm and the importance of putting down your foot trimmers as studies show trimming sheep with footrot delayed healing compared to injecting with antibiotics alone!
We then broke up into small groups for further discussion. Kat discussed the use of Footvax and how best to use it to reduce lameness and therefore the need for antibiotics. Gareth tackled biosecurity including the importance of not accepting lame sheep onto farm and a quarantine period to treat and prevent any lameness. Katie took charge of the real life sheep and looked at the different lesions they had and discussed appropriate treatment (including not foot trimming!)and Nikki used the MSD Five Point Planner questionnaires to show how well lameness control in the five areas of the Five Point Plan was going on farm and what areas could be tackled to further reduce lameness.
Further discussion was also had on the subject of footbathing and the new licensing for Zactran and Draxxin for footrot in sheep. Footbathing is most appropriate for lambs with scald (although badly affected lambs are better off being injected with antibiotics and having the foot topically sprayed than painfully hopping through formalin!) and post gathering to disinfect feet. The most appropriate treatment for sheep with footrot is injecting with antibiotics. Footbathing with antibiotics should be reserved for farms that have a problem with CODD and only after discussion with a vet. There are no studies to show that this is any more effective than injecting with antibiotics and issues surround the disposal of the product.
The afternoon was rounded off nicely with tea and cake! Thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to a great afternoon of discussion. We look forward to hosting more on farm meetings in the future!