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NEW FIVE-POINT PLAN TO CUT SHEEP LAMENESS
Sheep producers attending NSA Sheep 2012 this week heard how the
implementation of a practical new five-point plan could help the industry meet FAWC
lameness reduction targets by 2016 (5% or less) and 2021 (2% or less).
Speaking at the sheep industry’s showpiece event (Wednesday 4th July), consultant
vet to FAI Farms Ruth Clements said the proven new protocol provided farmers with
a comprehensive plan to cut lameness incidence significantly.
“Lameness is a highly complex problem, which means a combination of steps is
required to tackle the issue. But provided farmers take a consistent, long-term
approach there is no reason why significant improvements and cost savings cannot
be made,” she said.
The new protocol is the result of a three-year commercial farm trial programme, co-
ordinated by FAI Farms and supported by MSD Animal Health.
“The development of the five-point plan came from frustration with the lameness
incidence in our own sheep at FAI Farms, and a commitment to help farmers develop
actionable solutions to health problems,” Ruth Clements said. “But we’ve shown that
if you adopt a mindset change and commit to the plan, great strides can be made.”
The five-point plan is not sequential, but rather a series of management steps that
need to be co-ordinated within a flock to reap the rewards of a much lower lameness
The Five-Point Plan
Treat clinical cases early. Treating lame sheep early brings strong financial
and performance benefits, with a greater proportion of lambs from early
treated ewes staying alive and growing faster.
Vaccinate animals to stimulate immunity. Vaccination should be part of a
whole flock approach to disease control. The aim is to raise immunity within
the flock to help improve the success of the other disease steps.
Avoid spreading infection at gathering and handling. Footrot and scald
are infectious bacterial diseases, which can easily spread from animal to
animal. Ensure sheep handling areas are clean and well drained; dirty
concrete is just as bad as soil.
Quarantine incoming animals. Make sure a good procedure is in place to
separate bought-in stock for four weeks after purchase.
Cull badly or repeatedly affected animals. When a ewe has had more than
one bout of footrot in a season she should be given a cull tag. This will help
prevent the cycle of infection. Culling may be high in the first year, but will
reduce dramatically thereafter.
Further information on the practical five-point plan is available from veterinary
practices, animal health trade outlets and/or MSD Animal Health.
More detail is also available on www.fwi.co.uk/livestock/lameness
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July 4, 2012
About MSD Animal Health
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well.
MSD Animal Health, known as Merck Animal Health in the United States and
Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. MSD Animal Health
offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments the widest range of
veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services.
MSD Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being
and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive
R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. MSD Animal Health is present in
more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For
more information, visit www.msd-animal-health.com.