Costs The Irish Sheep Industry

1693 Words Apr 21st, 2016 7 Pages
Lameness In Sheep
Lameness costs the Irish sheep industry approximately €5m annually (O 'Leary, 2014), and footrot alone costs the UK industry £8m annually (Nieuwhof and Bishop, 2005). Lameness is a major problem for the sheep industry it causes discomfort and pain in the individuals affected. As such these Individuals are less likely to graze, reducing the animal’s performance; such reductions include: decline in body condition, lower lambing percentage, lower lamb birth weight and viability, reduced growth rate in lambs, reduced milk production, lower fertility in rams, and reduced wool growth (DEFRA, 2003).
Lameness in the sheep industry is usually related to the feet; there are a number of causes of lameness, yet the following are the most prevelant causes. The major causes of foot lameness in sheep being Interdigital Dermatisis and Footrot (Grogono-Thomas and Johnston, 1997) with Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis (CODD) becoming more of an issue in recent years. (Wassink et al., 2003)
Interdigital Dermatitis, also known as scald, is caused by the bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum. F. necrophorum can be found in the intestines of ruminants and as such is passed into the environment through faeces therefor, it is nearly impossible to eradicate from the farming environment. Infection by F. necorophorum occurs when skin between the digits is damaged i.e. by rocks or thorns. A moist environment softens the interdigital skin, reducing its…
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