Central Tablelands Local Land Services has warned sheep producers to insist on an Animal Health Statement when buying or agisting sheep or goats, following reports of footrot in central western NSW.
As a result of unusually wet conditions, footrot has been reported in areas where it has not been seen in decades.
Central Tablelands Local Land Services District Veterinarian Dr Amy Masters said up to a dozen suspected traces of footrot are being investigated on the Central Tablelands.
“Although the results are still to be confirmed, given the recent reports of footrot in the Central West, it’s probably only a matter of time before we see a higher prevalence of footrot showing up on the Central Tablelands,” Dr Masters said.
Footrot is debilitating to stock and expensive and labour-intensive to eradicate.
Producers are advised to only bring stock onto their properties from reputable sources. Stock health statements should be requested and carefully examined before stock movements occur.
Producers should isolate newly introduced sheep and ensure they are healthy with no signs of lameness, before allowing contact with other animals on the property.
Properties that are diagnosed with footrot are quarantined and a plan is implemented to eradicate the disease.
Treatment options including destocking or treating the mob with foot baths, foot paring and regular inspection.
Signs of footrot include lameness, inflammation between the digits and underrunning of the sole and heel. In severe cases sheep will lie down, walk on their knees and lose weight.
“Determining the cause of lameness can be difficult without a thorough veterinary examination, so it is prudent to contact your local vet for advice if symptoms occur,” Dr Masters said.
Virulent footrot is notifiable under the Stock Diseases Act 1923.
Any landholder, land manager, agent or vet who suspects that footrot is present in a mob is legally obliged to notify a District Veterinarian as soon as possible.
Producers should also ensure fences are in good condition to keep stray stock out.