41-Title: Foot affections in sheep: Clinical observations

Authors: Beenish Qureshi, Mujeeb ur Rehman Fazili, Nida handoo, Raja Aijaz Ahmad,

Shahid Hussain Dar and Mudasir Bashir Gugjoo

Source: Ruminant Science (2020)-9(2):413-418.

How to cite this manuscript: Qureshi Beenish, Fazili MR, Handoo Nida, Ahmad RA, Dar SH and Gugjoo MB (2020). Foot affections in sheep: Clinical observations. Ruminant Science 9(2):413-418.


The clinical signs were recorded in 24 sheep presented with single foot lameness for an average duration of eight days. The mean age and body weight (Mean±SE) were 26.92±5.31 months and 35.21±4.12kg, respectively. Female (n=18) sheep outnumbered the males (n=6). Forelimbs (75.00%) and right feet (62.50%) were involved in the majority of the sheep. The lateral claws were affected more frequently. The interdigital skin lesions were noticed in 10/24 and local alopecia in nine animals. Seven sheep had lesions in the sole, four in the coronary area and three in the heel. Majority (79.17%) of the sheep had lesions showing discharges. Twelve animals had overgrown hooves and 10 also showed loose and under-run solar horn. The mean increase in the pastern circumference was 0.49 inches (range 0.2 to 1.0inches). Gross contamination was detected in 58.33% sheep. Mean±SE values of rectal temperature, heart rate and respiration rates were 101.91±0.50 oF, 96.29±5.30 beats per minute and 33.33±4.57 breaths per minute, respectively. The rumen motility and Capillary Refill Time (CRT) values were 1.54±0.17 per two minutes and 1.25±0.28 seconds respectively. The visible mucus membranes in nine sheep were pale and three showed congestion. The lameness and the pain scores were 2.33±0.26 and 2.08±0.29 respectively. From this study, it is concluded that adult female sheep most frequently suffer from acute foot affections. These animals exhibit a range of typical local symptoms, moderate pain and lameness. The farmer perception of animal health and welfare needs immediate improvement.


Abbott KA and Egerton JR (2003). Effect of climatic region on the clinical expression of footrot of lesser clinical severity (intermediate foot rot) in sheep. Australian Veterinary Journal 81:756-762

Adams OR (1974), Lameness in Horses. 3rd Ed, Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia 4-32       

Aguiar GMN, Simões SVD, Silva TR, Assis ACO, Medeiros JMA, Garino Jr F and Riet-Correa F (2011). Foot rot and other foot diseases of goat and sheep in the semiarid region of north eastern. Brazil Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira 31:879-884

Angell JW, Blundell R, Grove-White DH and Duncan JS (2015). Clinical and radiographic features of contagious ovine digital dermatitis and a novel lesion grading system Veterinary Record doi:101136/vr102978.

Bokko BP and Chaudhari SUR (2001). Prevalence of lameness in sheep in the northeastern region of Nigeria. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology 3:519-521.

Bokko P,  Adamu SS and Mohammed A (2003). Limb conditions that predispose sheep to lameness in the arid zone of Nigeria. Small Ruminant Research 47:165-169        

Clements R (2015). Tackling lameness in sheep and evaluating progress. Veterinary Record 176:519-520.

Desrochers A, Anderson DE and St Jean G (2008). Surgical diseases and techniques of the digit. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 24:535-50.

Devi Sarita, Padhiyar AP, Saxsena Anshul and Jadhav KM (2017). Therapeutic management of foot rot in caprines. Ruminant Science 6(2):389-390.

Egwu, GO, Adamu, SS, Ameh, JA, Onyeyili, PA, Abana, PS, Chaudhari, SUR and Rabo, JS (1994). Retrospective, clinicopathological and microbiological studies of interdigital pouch lameness in sheep in an arid zone of Nigeria. Bulletin of Animal Production in Africa 42:5-11.

Fitz Gerald WG, Cassidy J, Bryan K, Markey and Doherty ML (2015). Profiling oral and digital lesions in sheep in Ireland. Irish Veterinary Journal 68:30.

Goddard P, Waterhouse T, Dwyer C and Stott A (2006). The perception of welfare of sheep in extensive systems. Small Ruminant Research 62:215-222.

Hodgkinson O (2010). The importance of feet examination in sheep health management. Small Ruminant Research 92:67-71

Jordan D, Plant JW, Nicol HI, Jessep TM and Scrivener CJ (1996). Factors associated with the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment for ovine virulent footrot. Australian Veterinary Journal 73:211-215.

Jubb TF and Malmo J(1991). Lesions causing lameness requiring veterinary treatment in pasture-fed dairy cows in east Gipps land. Australian Veterinary Journal 68:21-24

Kaler J, Daniels SLS, Wright JL and Green LE (2010). Randomized clinical trial of long-acting oxytetracycline, foot trimming, and flunixin meglumine on time to recovery in sheep with footrot. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 24:420-425

Kaler J, Wani SA, Hussain I, Beg SA, Makhdoomi M, Kabli ZA and Green LE (2012). A clinical trial comparing parenteral oxytetracycline and enrofloxacin on time to recovery in sheep lame with acute or chronic footrot in Kashmir, India. BMC Veterinary Research 8:12-18.

Mgasa MN and Arnbjerg J (1993). Occurrence of lameness and digital lesions in Tanzanian goats.  Small Ruminant Research 10:55-62

Molony V and Kent J (1997). Assessment of acute pain in farm animals using behavioural and physiological measurements. Journal of Animal Science 75:266-272     

Morton DB and Griffiths PHM (1985). Guidelines on the recognition of pain, distress and discomfort in experimental animals and hypothesis for assessment. Veterinary Record 116:431-436.

Olechnowicz J and Kowski JMJA (2011). Lameness in small ruminants. Medycyna Weterynaryjna 67:715.

Phythian CJ, Cripps PC, Grove-White D, Jones PH, Michalopoulou E and Duncan JS (2013). Observing lame sheep: Evaluating test agreement between group-level and individual animal methods of assessment. Animal Welfare 22:417-422.

Pugh DG (2004). Enfermidades do Sistema Músculo Esquelético: Clínica de caprinos eovinos Roca, São Paulo, pp 252-256.

Pugh DG and Baird AN (2012). Sheep and Goat Medicine. 2nd Edn, Elsevier Inc Saunders.

Radostits OM, Gay CC, Blood DC and Hinchcliff KW (2000). Veterinary Medicine. 9th  Edn, WB Saunders, London, pp 1819-1822.

Rather MA, Wani SA, Hussain I, Bhat MA, Kabli ZA and Magray SN (2011). Determination of prevalence and economic impact of ovine footrot in central Kashmir India with isolation and molecular characterization of Dichelobacter nodosus. Anaerobe 17:73-77.

Smith LW (2005). Helping industry ensure animal well-being. Agriculture Research 53:2.

Tadich N and Hernandez M (2000). Prevalencia de lesions podales en ovinos de 25 exploraciones familiars de la provincia de Valdivia, Chile. Archivos de Medicina Veterinaria 32:63-74.

Thakur Chakresh, Shahi Apra, Singh Randhir and Swamy Madhu (2018). Incidence and characterization of hoof affections in goats. Ruminant Science 7(2):319-324.

Wassink GJ, Grogono-Thomas R, Moore LJ and Green LE (2003). Risk factors associated with the prevalence of footrot in sheep from 1999 to 2000. Veterinary Record 152:351-358.

Wassink GJ, George TRN and Green LE (2010a). Footrot and interdigital dermatitis in sheep: Framer satisfaction with current management, their ideal management and sources used to adopt new strategies Preventive Veterinary Medicine 96:65-73.

Wassink GJ, King EM, Grogono-Thomas R, Brown JC, Moore LJ and Green LE (2010b). A within farm clinical trial to compare two treatments (parenteral antibacterials and hoof trimming) for sheep lame with footrot.  Preventive Veterinary Medicine 96:93-103.

Welsh EM, Gettinby G and Nolan AM (1993). Comparison of a visual analogue scale and a numerical rating scale for assessment of lameness, using sheep as a model. American Journal of Veterinary Research 54:976-983.

Winter AC (2004a). Lameness in sheep: Diagnosis. In Practice 26:58-63.

Winter AC (2004b). Lameness in sheep: Treatment and control. In Practice 26:130-139.