Foot abscess on rise in Central West sheep flocks

With forecast rainfall this weekend Central West Local Land Services District Vets are asking landholders to continue to monitor sheep flocks for signs of foot abscess.

The agency has already seen an increase in reports of foot abscess in sheep over the wet winter and with the forecast of a wetter than average spring are concerned this will continue into the warmer months.

Central West Local Land Services District Veterinarian Dr Hanna Dobell said heavier animals like pregnant ewes and rams were more prone to foot abscess.

“Foot abscess presents as severe lameness in generally one limb with blood and pus,” Dr Dobell said.

“Footbathing is a good tool to help manage foot abscess, but it needs to be done properly.

“Yarding sheep can actually increase your chances of foot abscess in the current conditions so it’s best to only yard for important management procedures and use this as an opportunity to footbathe your sheep out of the yards.”

In order to footbathe properly sheep need to be standing in zinc sulphate for 10-15 minutes and left to dry out for 12-24 hours either on the shearing shed grates or into a suitable paddock.

“Paddocks with a dam bank, hard dry road, sand ridge or an area that has been sprayed/slashed would be ideal.

“We realise trying to footbathe an entire flock properly would be quite time consuming and fiddly so it may be best to think about your most valuable animals and focus on those groups.”

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