The diagnosis of footrot should be approached in a systematic manner though the evaluation of history, a clinical examination, and if necessary the collection of material for laboratory confirmation (Whittington et al., 2016).
There are many causes of lameness in sheep. However, provided that feet are examined, there are few conditions that could be confused with footrot. The clinical signs of footrot are characteristic once underrunning of the horn has occurred. Footrot occurs in several clinical forms that vary in their effect on individual feet, individual sheep and flocks of sheep, from mild to severe. It is the interaction between the susceptibility of the host (within and between breeds), the virulence of the strain(s) of Dichelobacter nodosus that is present, and the suitability of the environment that produces the clinical disease.
Accurate assessment of the nature of an outbreak of footrot can be complex and is best conducted by an experienced veterinarian (Whittington et al., 2016). This is a legal requirement in some jurisdictions.
Note: The method and criteria for diagnosis of footrot may be subject to specific policy in particular State jurisdictions in Australia. Consult your government veterinarian.
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