Sheep Hoof Health and Management


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This PowerPoint presentation was prepared for the 2011 Missouri Livestock Symposium by Susan Schoenian, University of Maryland Extension Sheep & Goat Specialist.

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Sheep Hoof Health and Management

  1. 1. SUSAN SCHOENIAN (Shāy-nē-ŭn) Sheep & Goat Specialist Western Maryland Research & Education Center - www.sheepandgoat.com
  2. 2.  Hoof care is an important aspect of animal management. Hoof health can affect an animal’s performance, disease resistance, and welfare. Hooves should be regularly checked for disease and excess growth. Animals with excessive or abnormal hoof growth and chronic hoof disease should be culled. CULLING IS YOUR MOST POWERFUL TOOL!
  3. 3.  To prevent lameness. To allow air to reach the hoof to eliminate the bacteria that can cause infection. To create a flat sole surface, removing trapped mud and feces and reducing the possibility of infection. To promote proper hoof growth in young animals.
  4. 4. Factors affecting theneed for hoof trimming: Genetics  Individual  Breed  Color of hoof  Structure/shape of hoof Environment  Soil moisture and characteristics (terrain)  Season and rainfall  Housing  Diet
  5. 5. 1. Hoof shears (trimmers) YOU CAN’T DO A THOROUGH JOB OF  Manual HOOF TRIMMING WITHOUT A KNIFE. ▪ Smooth vs. serrated ▪ Rotating handle  Air-compression driven [large flocks]2. Hoof knife  Straight vs. curved3. Brush [for cleaning hoof]4. Tight fitting (nitrile) gloves (for safety and comfort)
  6. 6.  Tip animal onto its rump Deck chair Tilt table or “squeeze”  Manual ▪ Half-tilt ▪ Full-tilt  Automatic
  7. 7.  Not during late gestation. In conjunction with other management tasks. [e.g. shearing] 2 to 3 weeks before a show. When hooves are soft.
  8. 8.  Clean hoof Trim excess growth  Trim to pad (sole)  Trim axial surface  Don’t cut tip PRACTICE MAKES “PERFECT.” [entry for infection] Try not to draw blood. [entry for infection] Disinfect tools between animals.
  9. 9. COMMON Foot scald (esp. goats) BACTERIAL   Foot abscess  Footrot (esp. sheep) LESS COMMON  Laminitis (founder)  BluetongueVIRAL  Soremouth  Foot-and-mouth disease
  10. 10.  Gram-negative,CAUSES FOOT SCALD anaerobic bacteria that (INTERDIGITAL DERMATITIS) live in the digestive tract and feces of animals.  Interact with other bacteria to cause foot scald and foot abscesses.BACTERIA ON EVERY FARM  Work in conjunction with D. nodosus to cause footrot.
  11. 11.  An inflammation andSKIN BETWEEN TOES IS redness between the RAW AND INFLAMED. toes (claws) of the hoof.  No (or minimal) involvement of the hoof.  Precursor to footrot and foot abscess.NOT CONTAGIOUS  Outbreaks occur during periods of wet weather.
  12. 12.  Occur when ActinomycesHEEL OR TOE spp. bacteria invade tissue already weakened by an interdigital infection.  Causes lameness, pain, swelling, a nd heat.  Affects mostly mature and heavy animals.COMMON BACTERIA  Usually only one hoof or digit is affected.
  13. 13.  Gram-negative, anaerobic CAUSES FOOTROT bacteria that live in the feet of infected animals.  Release protease enzymes which digest connective tissue between the horn and flesh of the hoof.  Survival of D. nodosus  Does not infect healthy hooves.  Up to three years in chronically-infected hooves.20 DIFFERENT STRAINS OF BACTERIA  Up to 14 days on soil, feces, and pasture. THAT VARY IN VIRULENCE.  Up to 6 weeks in hoof horn clippings  Other surfaces: not known
  14. 14.  Involves a separation of the horny portions of theUNDERMINING OF HOOF hoof from the underlying sensitive areas.  Foul odor.  Both claws are usually affected. HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS  More than one hoof may be involved.
  15. 15.  Irritation of interdigital tissue caused by moisture or trauma allows entry of F. necrophorum. Other disease-causing bacteria invade tissue already weakened by interdigital dermatitis. Predisposing factors to hoof disease:  Warmth (>45°F) + moisture  Overgrown hooves  Abnormal hoof growth Infection or exposure does not provide natural immunity.
  16. 16. Moisture / trauma Softening, damage to skin between toes Invasion by Fusobacterium necrophorum INTERDIGITAL DERMATITIS OR FOOT SCALD Invasion by Invasion byActinomyces pyogenes Dichelorbacter nodosus FOOT ABSCESS SHEEP FOOTROT Source: Guide to Footrot in Sheep, Alberta Sheep & Wool Commission
  17. 17. Primary In the hooves of newly acquired animals.Secondary On contaminated equipment. In contaminated bedding at sales, fairs, and during transport. In the hooves of goats and cattle. On pasture and in barn lots. On footwear. From service personnel FOOTROT USUALLY “WALKS ON” TO A FARM IN THE HOOVES OF AN INFECTED ANIMAL OR CHRONIC CARRIER.
  18. 18.  Have a written biosecurity plan and follow it. Do not buy animals from flocks with a history of foot diseases or noticeable lameness. All newly acquired animals should be suspected of having footrot and be quarantined for a minimum of 3 weeks. FOOTROT PUTS PEOPLE OUT OF BUSINESS!
  19. 19.  Observe all new animals for lameness. Carefully inspect each foot. Closely trim hooves. Spray each foot with a solution of 20% zinc sulfate.
  20. 20.  Re-trim (if necessary) and thoroughly examine hooves for signs of infection. If there is any evidence of footrot infection, all animals in the group should be foot bathed with a 10% solution of zinc sulfate.
  21. 21.  Goal: eliminate the effects of footrot in sheep flocks in the Northeast. 1. Education ▪ Cooperating flocks ▪ 4 week protocol for eliminating footrot ▪ Web site: extension.umaine/sheep/ 2. Research ▪ Scoring Dr. Richard Brzozowksi ▪ DNA testing University of Maine Extension
  22. 22.  Trim, inspect, and score feet of every sheep (and goat) on the farm. Separate into groups 1. Healthy, infection-free 2. Infected (recovering)  Consider culling infected animals.
  23. 23.  Health (scale of 1-5) 1. No sign of infection 2. Inflammation of digital skin, possible odor 3. Odor, undermining/ separation, lameness 4. Excessive undermining two or more feet infected, odor 5. Chronic carrier Structure  Pockets  Other abnormal growth Hoof color “Pocket” white, mottled, black, brown, gray
  24. 24. Foot bath all animalsProtocol for foot bathing Mix 8.5 pounds of zinc sulfate in 10 gallons of water + 1 cup of laundry detergent (wetting agent). Create a “soak” pad in bottom of footbath (wool or sawdust) to prevent splashing and loss of solution. Sheep (and goats) should stand in foot bath for at least 3 to 5 minutes.
  25. 25.  After soaking, put animals in drying area:  Well-bedded barn area  Dry, hard surface ▪ Clean concrete pad ▪ Wooden floor After drying, put groups into separate pastures or barn areas where sheep (or goats) have not been for at least two weeks.
  26. 26.  Repeat foot bathing and drying protocol. Observe animals and check for any limpers.  Check and trim feet of limpers in healthy group and move to infected group.
  27. 27.  Inspect all sheep (and goats)  Check and trim hooves (if necessary).  Score hooves Move infected animals that have recovered to healthy group and vice versa. Repeat foot bathing and drying protocol. Move groups to separate pastures where sheep (and goats) have not been for at least 2 weeks.
  28. 28.  Repeat foot bathing and drying protocol. Observe animals and check for any limpers.  Check and trim feet of limpers in healthy group and move to infected group.
  29. 29.  Inspect all sheep (and goats) Score each hoof Repeat foot bathing and drying protocol.
  30. 30.  After 4 weeks, Cull carriers! all animals except “carriers” should have been able to heal. Cull any animal that is still infected.
  31. 31. TRIM TREAT ISOLATE CULL Day 0    4-plus Day 7   Day 14    Day 21      Day 28 Footrot eradicated!
  32. 32.  Antibiotic injections  Penicillin  Tetracyclines Antibiotic sprays Topical treatment with Koppertox® or 7% iodine Dry chemicals (zinc sulfate + lime) Absorptive pads (zinc sulfate) Vaccination [prevent + treat] Zinc supplementation CONTROL AND/OR ERADICATION OF FOOTROT USUALLY REQUIRES A Genetic selection COMBINATION OF PRACTICES.
  33. 33. CONVENTIONAL SELECTION MARKER-BASED SELECTIONUSING FOOTROT LESION SCORING USING DNA TESTING Resistance to footrot  Genetic markers have been found which can identify if a is heritable. sheep is resistant to footrot.  Low to moderate heritability  A blood test for resistance 0.02 to 0.40 (UK) is currently available (NZ) 0.30 to 0.40 (NZ)  To be effective the same strains of D. nodosus must  Low repeatability be causing footrot. At least two footrot scores are recommended (UK)  A rapid test to identify D. nodosus strains is being commercialized.  Goal: EPDs/EBVs for footrot resistance.  Does not require exposure to disease.
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  35. 35. Thank you for your attention Any questions? sheep-hoof-health-and-management SUSAN SCHOENIAN