New methods for foot scoring

Scoring foot lesions is an important tool in the diagnosis of footrot, evaluating vaccine efficacy and in research on the disease. Existing and new methods for scoring feet were evaluated in this study.

Whittington, R. J. and Nicholls, P. J. (1995b) Grading the lesions of ovine footrot. Research in Veterinary Science, 58, 26-34. 10.1016/0034-5288(95)90084-5 

Summary:    Sixteen methods of grading the lesions of ovine footrot were assessed on the basis of the effect of the lesions on the humoral immune response of the host to a causative bacterium, Dichelobacter nodosus. Methods that allowed for qualitative and quantitative differences in lesion scores between sheep were the best predictors of host response, and methods that assessed the lesions in each of the eight digits were more efficient than methods that did not grade the digits within feet. Weighting the scores for lesions that involved underrunning of the keratin of the hoof provided the most powerful means of predicting host response. The correlations between host response and the more elaborate weighted scores were close to the highest possible among additive linear estimators. Total weighted footscore, which is the sum of the footscores of the four feet weighted for underrun lesions, is proposed as a simple and effective grading system for sheep with lesions of footrot. There was a significant association within sheep between the number of underrun feet and the severity of lesions in individual feet. 

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