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Changes in prevalence of, and risk factors for, lameness in random samples of English sheep flocks: 2004–2013

Winter, Joanne R.; Kaler, Jasmeet; Ferguson, Eamonn; KilBride, Amy L.; Green, Laura E.

Authors

Joanne R. Winter

JASMEET KALER JASMEET.KALER@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of Epidemiology & Precision Livestock Informatics

Amy L. KilBride

Laura E. Green



Abstract

The aims of this study were to update the prevalence of lameness in sheep in England and identify novel risk factors. A total of 1260 sheep farmers responded to a postal survey. The survey captured detailed information on the period prevalence of lameness from May 2012 - April 2013 and the prevalence and farmer naming of lesions attributable to interdigital dermatitis (ID), severe footrot (SFR), contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) and shelly hoof (SH), management and treatment of lameness, and farm and flock details.
The global mean period prevalence of lameness fell between 2004 and 2013 from 10.6% to 4.9% and the geometric mean period prevalence of lameness fell from 5.4% (95% CL: 4.7-6.0%) to 3.5% (95% CI: 3.3%-3.7%). In 2013, more farmers were using vaccination and antibiotic treatment for ID and SFR and fewer farmers were using foot trimming as a routine or in therapeutic treatment than in 2004.
Two over-dispersed Poisson regression models were developed with the outcome the period prevalence of lameness, one investigated associations with farmer estimates of prevalence of the four foot lesions and one investigated associations with management practices to control and treat lameness and footrot. A prevalence of ID >10%, SFR >2.5% and CODD >2.5% were associated with a higher prevalence of lameness compared with those lesions being absent, however, the prevalence of SH was not associated with a change in risk of lameness.
A key novel management risk associated with higher prevalence of lameness was the rate of feet bleeding / 100 ewes trimmed / year. In addition, vaccination of ewes once per year and selecting breeding replacements from never-lame ewes were associated with a decreased risk of lameness. Other factors identified as associated with a lower risk of lameness for the first time in a random sample of farmers and a full risk model were: recognising lameness in sheep at locomotion score 1 compared with higher scores, treatment of the first lame sheep in a group compared with waiting until >5 were lame, treatment of lame sheep within 3 days, ease of catching lame sheep and quarantine for >21 days. A previously known factor associated with a lower risk of lameness was footbathing to prevent ID. We conclude that the prevalence of lameness in sheep in England has fallen and that this might be in part because of increased uptake of managements previously reported as beneficial to control lameness. Routine foot trimming should be avoided.

Citation

Winter, J. R., Kaler, J., Ferguson, E., KilBride, A. L., & Green, L. E. (2015). Changes in prevalence of, and risk factors for, lameness in random samples of English sheep flocks: 2004–2013. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 122(1-2), 121-128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.09.014

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 22, 2015
Online Publication Date Sep 26, 2015
Publication Date 2015-11
Deposit Date Nov 11, 2015
Journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Print ISSN 0167-5877
Electronic ISSN 1873-1716
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 122
Issue 1-2
Pages 121-128
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.09.014
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/30700
Publisher URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167587715300192
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Changes in prevalence of, and risk factors for, lameness in random samples of English sheep flocks: 2004–2013; Journal Title: Preventive Veterinary Medicine; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.09.014; Content Type: article; Copyright: Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.