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Sheep producers reminded to follow biosecurity protocols to prevent footrot

Released on

Released on:
Tuesday, 30. October 2018 - 10:00

Western Australian producers are reminded to follow biosecurity protocols when bringing sheep onto their properties, to protect their flocks from virulent footrot.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Footrot Control Program manager Jenny Cotter said footrot could impact productivity and a key sign was lameness from lesions on the feet.

“Footrot is a bacterial infection of sheep’s feet that is often spread through the movement of sheep within and between properties, so it is important to protect your existing flock when you introduce new stock,” Dr Cotter said.

Dr Cotter said virulent footrot had recently been detected in an imported ram during a routine follow-up inspection by the department.

“Because the farm operator had followed the import protocols of isolating the ram, this had minimised the likelihood of spread,” Dr Cotter said.

Movement restrictions have been placed on the property to limit the spread of the disease, and department officers will work with the property manager to contain the footrot infection.

As part of WA’s entry conditions, sheep imported from interstate must be certified by a vet as coming from a property that does not have active virulent footrot and are checked at the border.

In addition, sheep must undergo two inspections by a department inspector or private vet at 28 to 35 days and 90 to 100 days post-arrival.

“This means if footrot is visible, the border and post-border inspections should detect the disease before it has a chance to spread,” Dr Cotter said.

“These border controls and follow-up inspections and testing are an important part of disease control to protect WA animal health. 

“When footrot is detected in an animal, the department traces all animals that have been in contact with the infected animal to check for signs of disease.

“If you have any concerns about the possibility of footrot on your property, please contact your local Department biosecurity officer.”

WA industry funds the Footrot Control Program through the Sheep and Goat Industry Funding Scheme, with operational activities managed by the Department.

For more information about footrot, speak to your local Department biosecurity officer or click here.

Media contacts:

Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison, +61 (0)8 9368 3937