King Island ASVA Geelong 2008 presentation on footrot vaccination (2)
Merino weaner with severe lameness. Photo: Om Dhungyel

Welcome to Footrot@Sydney. This website comes to you from the Farm Animal Health team in the School of Veterinary Science at The University of Sydney. We are affiliated with the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity and the Sydney Institute of Agriculture. We hope you enjoy this site and the opportunity it provides to learn about footrot and the outcomes of our research program.

The University of Sydney has been conducting research on footrot for over 50 years. We have created a significant body of knowledge and furthered global understanding of the cause, control and treatment of ovine footrot. This website is intended to provide a set of technical resources for veterinarians, animal health officers and producers. With the progressive retirement of the many people who worked on footrot control in Australia from the 1970’s, a new generation is seeking information.

How do you assess lameness and foot health? What determines whether a flock of sheep will remain healthy? How does the environment affect the occurrence of footrot? How can sheep be managed to minimise losses? What is the best way to treat and prevent footrot? These are some of the questions we try to answer in our multidisciplinary research program.

We work closely with sheep and wool growers and benefit from their great insight on farming. This knowledge includes many traditional practices. But we now need to find new solutions, because community expectations for improved animal welfare, restrictions on overuse of antibiotics and the enormous labour resources required to deal with footrot mandate change. This is where science and research step up to meet the challenge.

The outcomes from research can be hard to predict, and the time frame required for breakthroughs is uncertain. Sometimes it is hard to tell whether breakthroughs are real or illusory. For this reason farmers need assistance to sieve through new information, avoid misinformation and adapt practices appropriately. We aim to ensure we have good evidence and rigorous standards in research and we make sure that our findings are available for assessment by industry and by the international scientific community. For this reason we publish our research in scientific journals in a timely manner. Please see the page ‚ÄúScientific Publications‚ÄĚ. These technical findings are translated and presented to farmers, farming associations, via the media and through this website.

We acknowledge the McGarvie Smith Fund and The University of Sydney, who generously funded the initial development of this website.

Emeritus Professor Richard Whittington

University of Sydney,

Camden, NSW Australia

Last updated: 15 November 2019


Important disclaimer: The advice contained on this website is of a general nature. Please consult your veterinarian or government district veterinarian, animal health or biosecurity officer for an accurate diagnosis if you suspect footrot, and for specific advice on the best course of action  to prevent, control and eradicate footrot.