Sheepfarmers could reduce antibiotic treatments for lameness by as much as 92%within two years of implementing the practical FAI Farms Five-Point Plan tocontrol the disease within a flock.
AVeterinary Record report describeshow Oxfordshire-based FAI Farms managed to cut substantially the number oflameness treatments administered to their flock of 1,200 ewes over a four-yearperiod1.
Beforewe implemented the Five-Point Plan our mean number of monthly antibiotictreatments was 3.8 per 100 ewes. During the first year this was reduced to 1.4treatments per 100 ewes per month, and during years 2-4 was sustained at lessthan 0.3 treatments per 100 ewes per month, says Ruth Clements MRCVS from FAIFarms.
FAIFarms managed to reduce flock lameness from an average annual prevalence of7.4% to only 2.6% within a year of implementing the plan. Lameness levels werethen maintained at less than 1% for the next three years.
Followedthoroughly and consistently year-on-year, the Five-Point Plan builds a flocksresilience to the diseases that cause lameness, reduces the infection challengeon the farm and establishes sheep immunity.
Thefive points comprise: prompt and appropriate treatment of any lame sheep;vaccination bi-annually with FOOTVAX to reduce footrot lesions and buildimmunity; culling badly or repeatedly infected sheep; quarantining incominganimals; and avoiding spreading infection when sheep are gathered and handled.
Accordingto EBLEX, the estimated losses from footrot alone equate to around 6 a yearfor every ewe in Great Britain, but these are costs the industry does not haveto bear. Our experience shows that you really can get on top of lamenessproblems and reap the flock performance and animal welfare benefits of anextremely low disease incidence level, says Ms Clements.