Effect of climatic region on the clinical expression of footrot of lesser clinical severity (intermediate footrot) in sheep

K.A. Abbott, J.R. Egerton

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    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To determine if the clinical classification of intermediate footrot (IFR) is changed to virulent footrot (VFR) by a transfer of the infected flock to a region where climatic conditions are more favourable for the transmission of the disease. Design Clinical examination of two groups of Merino wethers infected with IFR; one group of 309 in a region considered less favourable for footrot and another group of 343 at a second site considered more favourable. Procedures: After characterising the form of footrot at the first site, infection was established at the second site by mixing 142 wethers from the first site with 201 unrelated wethers considered to be free of IFR and VFR. Observations of clinical characteristics were made over a 16 month period during which an outbreak of footrot occurred. Clinical assessments were made by inspecting every foot of every sheep at regular intervals and allocating a footscore. Evidence that the same clonal lines of D nodosus were responsible for the footrot at both sites was provided by serotyping of isolates and using omp gene RFLP as a molecular epidemiological tool. Results: The disease at the first site was classified as IFR because 7% of the sheep developed a maximum footscore (MFS) of 4, the most severe category, despite relatively low rates of transmission. When the outbreak occurred at the second site, which was more suitable for footrot transmission, the maximum proportion of the flock that developed a MFS of 4 was 3.6%, confirming the initial classification of IFR. Conclusions: When a flock infected with IFR was moved to a region where climatic conditions were more favourable for footrot transmission, the clinical classification of the disease remained the same in both the original flock and in sheep exposed to the infection for the first time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)756-762
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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