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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Field Study on the Prevalence of Ovine Footrot, Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis, and Their Associated Bacterial Species in Swedish Sheep Flocks

Rosander, Anna; Mourath, Sophia; Koenig, Ulrika; Nyman, Ann; Frosth, Sara

Abstract

Ovine footrot and contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) cause lameness in sheep, affecting welfare and economics. Previous Swedish studies focused on individual slaughter lambs, leaving flock-wide prevalence less explored. This study examined the prevalence of footrot and CODD in Swedish sheep flocks, focusing on adult sheep. From 99 flocks, 297 swabs were analysed using real-time PCR for Dichelobacter nodosus, Fusobacterium necrophorum, and Treponema spp. Sampled feet were photographed and assessed using scoring systems for footrot and CODD. Results indicated footrot prevalences (footrot score >= 2) of 0.7% and 2.0% at the individual and flock levels, respectively, whereas there were no signs of CODD. The individual footrot prevalence was lower than that from a 2009 study but aligned with a 2020 study, both conducted on slaughter lambs. Dichelobacter nodosus, F. necrophorum, and Treponema spp. were found in 5.7%, 1.3%, and 65.0% of sheep, and in 9.1%, 3.0%, and 82.8% of flocks, respectively. Compared to the 2020 study, there was a notable decrease in F. necrophorum and Treponema spp., while D. nodosus was consistent. In conclusion, the findings show a low prevalence of footrot, CODD, D. nodosus, and F. necrophorum in Swedish sheep flocks. Continuous surveillance and owner education are important to maintain this favourable status.

Keywords

CODD; Dichelobacter nodosus; Fusobacterium necrophorum; Treponema; lesion scoring; photographs; swab samples; real-time PCR

Published in

Pathogens
2023, Volume: 12, number: 10, article number: 1224
Publisher: MDPI