Footrot in small ruminants is an extremely contagious disease and there is no effective vaccine available in US. This program has integrated preventive education, demonstration, and training in an effort to reduce footrot outbreaks among small ruminants. Achieved milestones for the project duration have enhanced small ruminant producers’ skills and knowledge significantly for on-farm detection, prevention, and diagnosis of footrot disease outbreaks.
Small ruminants have become a major diversification and sustainable operation on small ranches in Missouri. However, frequent footrot outbreaks in sheep and goat flocks reduced profitability or sustainability in the disease prevalent region. Although footrot disease is contagious and costly for treatments, an early detection, prevention and management program should void frequent large scale outbreaks and livestock losses. This project is to conduct an early detection, prevention training, field demonstration for prevention for footrot outbreak.
The main objective is to organize farmers’ and producers’ training workshops for topics of small ruminant animal production, welfare, foot and hoof care, and demonstrate footrot prevention, treatment, and on-farm biosecurity protocol.
The project enhanced producers’ knowledge and skills for the detection and prevention of footrot outbreaks in goat and sheep flock.
Footrot outbreak prevention, control and management practice. Footrot preventive education, control and management workshop was organized for producers, extension professionals, researchers and students during the spring of 2017. The Project Director, local veterinarian and participant farmer speakers presented a series of lecture and workshop. Field demonstrations and hands-on training activities (e.g., hoof trimming and foot bathing) were conducted at Lincoln University’s Alan T. Busby Farm (Jefferson City, Missouri). Following the developed project protocols, workshop participants performed animal foot inspection, foot health scoring, hoof trimming and foot bathing. Seasonal footrot preventive protocols were developed and demonstrated with sheep (n = 110) flock at Lincoln University. Foot-bathing solutions were prepared by dissolving zinc sulfate (10%) in water. At Busby Farm, footrot preventive foot-bathing was conducted once weekly for six weeks in the summer and six weeks in the fall. The footrot outbreaks were effectively prevented using a frequent preventive foot-bathing schedule and no footrot outbreak was observed in this flock throughout the seasons.
Conducted on-farm visitation, field inspection, and footrot diagnostic training. Dr. Tumen Wuliji, has conducted frequent footrot prevalence survey at small ruminant production workshop, field day and livestock sales, and then visited producers’ farms and provided training for footrot inspection, diagnosis and prevention technique. As the lameness is a typical sign of footrot infection in sheep and goats, for a preliminary diagnosis, farmers were advised to inspect their animals if they were lagging behind the rest of flock, if they were limping, carrying or lifting sore foot, and if they were kneeing and crawling for grazing.
Conducted footrot lesion swabs sampling, culturing, and the pathogen identification. Dr. Tumen Wuliji and Miss Liga Wuri, a graduate research assistant, have inspected and monitored sheep flock (n=110) at Busby Farm (Lincoln University) during footrot outbreak seasons. At each occasion, five to ten animals suspected for footrot infection were swabbed for foot/hoof lesions or interdigital necrosis for pathogenic culture and identification.
Seminar and field day presentation. Dr. Tumen Wuliji has presented two poster displays on the topics of ‘An out of season breeding system for organic fall lamb production’ and ‘Footrot prevention in sheep and goats’ for the Lincoln University Field Day at Missouri State Capitol (2017). He and his co-authors (Wuliji, T, Wuri L, Lamberson W, Hickford J, Azarpajouh S, Bax A) have presented and published a research paper titled ‘Survey screening for Footrot Resistant Gene Markers in US Hair Sheep and Their Crossbreds’ in the proceedings of the 19th international symposium and 11th International Conference on Lameness in Ruminants. (7th – 9th, September, 2017), Munich, Germany.
Educational & Outreach Activities
- Footrot bacteriology, animal health and welfare, gastrointetinal parasilogy, footrot inspection and diagnosis, footrot bath formulation, hoof trimming etc