What can you tell me about sheep foot rot?

Answer: Foot problems are often hard to diagnose, and sometimes they are very easy to misdiagnose. In sheep, the most common and definitely the most feared type of foot rot is sheep foot rot. This is different than cattle foot rot. Its main diagnostic feature is limping, and when you pick up the foot, it has a very putrefying smell. You cannot mistake the bad smell. Sheep footrot is extremely contagious. Consulting with your veterinarian is highly advised.In general, foot rot problems generally show up under wet, muddy, and cold conditions. Foot rot problems are also associated with inadequate levels of zinc in the ration. Since you are using a cafeteria-style mineral feeder, it would be probably good to check that the zinc bin is always full. I would also have your soil tested for molybdenum. High levels of molybdenum limit the bio-availability of Cu, ZN, and Co, all of which are involved in the immune system. With that said, problems caused by inadequate minerals and vitamins require a period of inadequacy; it does not just happen in one day or even a week. Oftentimes, producers use Kopertox for treating minor, noncontagious forms of foot rot and also as a liquid “bandage” for skin abrasions. As food animal husbandmen, we need to be more aware of drugs that are not labeled for animals intended for human consumption. Kopertox is one of these drugs. As such, it can only be used in equine and companion animal applications. An alternative is a foot bath of zinc sulfate, which is not very convenient, as the sheep have to stand in it for a good amount of time.For more information, consult the following resources. And, again, consulting with your veterinarian is highly advised.Eliminating the effects of foot rot on sheep flocks in the Northeasthttp://umaine.edu/sheep/report/Footrot in Sheep and Goatshttps://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/As/As-596-footrot.pdfGuide to Footrot in Sheephttp://www.farmfoodcare.org/pdfs/animal-resources/sheep-foot-rot-june-2010.pdfSheep 201: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Sheephttp://www.sheep101.info/201/hoofcare.html