High Levels of Scald This Year – Be Prepared with Provita Hoofcare

Lameness in sheep is a major welfare concern and causes very significant financial and production losses.  Over 80% of flocks are affected by lameness, and within the flock the incidence is believed to run at 15%-20%.  There is anecdotal evidence that scald bacteria is particularly active this year.

If a lamb is lame, it will take longer to reach market weight. If the ewe is lame, milk production goes down and in consequence, meat production of the lamb goes down. Lameness is one of the biggest problems in farming and the condition causes considerable morbidity, by impacting negatively on productivity and economic returns. It can be considered as a “gateway disease” leading to other economically important health problems, especially in sheep. Lameness is also a major animal welfare issue, and its serious visual impact with welfare implications, negatively impacts public perception especially in the case of sheep farming. Lameness can cause intense pain to the animal which will often be seen lying down or walking on its knees.

Brief Summary of Some Types of lameness in Sheep

Scald occurs between the hoof horns and is usually a reddish discolouration and moist with the loss of hair. Inflammation occurs in the skin between the digits. With scald, there is generally no bad smell and little or no involvement of the hoof.  It can be a precursor to footrot.

Footrot is a disease of the hoof that originates between digits but develops to an under-run hoof and it also has a distinctive smell. Footrot is highly infectious and is transmitted from sheep to sheep and thus proper control and prevention must focus on the whole flock. It is particularly transmissible when sheep are confined in a small area e.g., during housing periods, in handling yards, contaminated bedding or access routes.  A very useful vaccine is available to prevent and reduce the incidence of footrot disease. It is widely used and a successful deterrent.  In most flocks, footrot (interdigital dermatitis) is the most common cause, accounting for approximately 80% of foot lameness. Most outbreaks of lameness in sheep are caused by this highly infectious bacterial infection.

Contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) is regarded as one of the most severe foot conditions, with some cases resulting in permanent lameness. This condition starts at the coronary band and then spreads to under run the hoof wall. There is no foul smell with this type, but it is contagious and can affect many sheep in a very short period.

Hoof Care and Footbaths

As with most conditions, “prevention is better than cure,” and regular foot baths with a safe and effective solution is a sound financial investment.

For years, footbaths have centred around copper, zinc, or formalin type ingredients. Formalin is known to harden the hoof and is also carcinogenic – chronic inhalation of its fumes must be avoided. Copper is environmentally toxic and is hazardous to sheep, plants, and herbage.

A very useful vaccine is available to prevent and reduce the incidence of the foot rot disease. It is widely used and is a successful deterrent. 

Hoof Care and Footbaths

As with most conditions, “prevention is better than cure” and regular foot baths with a safe and effective compound is a sound financial investment.  Footbaths have been used as routine prophylactics for lameness for many years and most have centred around copper, zinc, or formalin type ingredients.

Hoofsure Range from Provita Animal Health

Provita Hoofsure Endurance is a scientifically proven proprietary blend of organic acids, essential oils and wetting acids with deep antibacterial penetrating action. With innovation at the heart of Provita, the dedicated Research & Development team have now developed a new improved formula.  Utilising proprietary technology, the new formula is 33% faster acting and provides more contact time on the hoof.  It has been highly successful in the field in both sheep and cattle, in preventing lameness and thereby avoiding the heavy financial costs arising from the subsequent appearance of lameness.  The range also includes Konquest hoof gel and Combat hoof spray for topical application.

Farmer Successes!

Dr. John Moore, a pedigree Texel sheep farmer uses Combat on young lambs and  comments “For effective management of scald, I use Provita Combat every Spring. A quick spray is all it takes”.

Sheep farmer in Worcestershire – bad outbreak of scald and foot rot in some ewe lambs out a grass, “the ewe lamb with the horrific foot is a lot better today after using Combat and is putting pressure on her foot!”

Chris Crowthers, Oldham, 2,500 pure Lonk and 500 Lonk cross breed sheep, “I have used Provita products for many years including their Hoofsure range. My protocol is to footbath 1000 sheep every other week with Hoofsure Endurance 2%. I find that the sheep go through the solution much easier than formalin and that there are fewer cases of scald. Furthermore, Hoofsure Endurance is safer and easier to use!

SPECIAL OFFER:  BUY Hoofsure Endurance 20 litre, Konquest Gel 30g and Combat Spray 500ml and GET FREE Sheep footbath!

Written by Dr T.B Barragry PhD, MSc, MVM, MRCVS, Dip ECVPT.For more information please contact Provita Animal Health on
0800 328 4982 or