Lameness: a critical issue for ewe and lamb health

Lameness negatively impacts not only welfare but sheep performance too.  Persistent lameness can lead to reduced weight gain, metabolic diseases in pregnant ewes, reduced birthweight of lambs, mis-mothering and poor colostrum production by ewes (Harwood et al., 1997; Henderson, 1990).   The subsequent cost alone of lameness to the sheep industry is estimated to be €5 million annually.  Footrot is the most common cause of lameness and is present on over 90% of farms.  Other common conditions implicated in lameness include scald and contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD).  Scald, which is a precursor to footrot, is often characterised by reddening and loss of hair between the hooves; it can be easily controlled by appropriate foot bathing.  Farmers who implement an effective footbathing and topical application plan will benefit from a reduction in lameness and increase in profits.  Correct diagnosis should be performed by veterinary practitioner.

Sheep Footbathing – Use a tried and tested Solution

A comparative bioassay in a study by Queens University Belfast indicated that Provita Hoofsure Endurance was most effective in destroying bacteria, even in the presence of contamination.  Its antibacterial activity is more effective than the most commonly used copper sulfate and formaldehyde.  The study also confirmed that 400 sheep passes can be achieved through a 100 litre footbath provided depth is maintained.  In a separate independent clinical study from a renowned bio-sciences institute on the effectiveness of footbath solutions in sheep found that 65% of sheep improved after one pass through a footbath containing Hoofsure Endurance at 2% dilution rate.


Sheep Topical Application

Effective topical products play an important role in a lameness control plan.  For larger and more chronic lesions, Hoofsure Konquest can be used.  Provita developed Hoofsure Konquest hoof gel in conjunction with Queens University Belfast.  Konquest hoof gel is a concentrated proprietary blend of organic acids and essential oils.  It is formulated to possess bio-adhesive and potent penetrating action so it sticks to the skin and hoof and effectively gets to the source of infection.


Hoofsure Combat is a unique film-forming spray which provides long-lasting activity and aids the healing process.  For use on scald and to decrease re-infection, a high number of applications is available in each bottle making it cost-effective.  Both Konquest and Combat are anti-biotic and copper free!


Written by George Shaw, MPharm MPSNI, Technical Adviser,, 07841 926219.  References available on request

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