Latest research findings shared at sheep lameness meeting

A sheep

More than 70 veterinary surgeons, farmers, academics, industry representatives and students met at the School of Veterinary Science’s Leahurst campus on Saturday, 31 October to learn about new University of Liverpool research findings that will help to prevent and treat Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis (CODD) – one of the main causes of severe lameness in sheep.

CODD is an infectious foot disease that is estimated to affect approximately half of UK sheep farms, causing huge welfare and economic problems for the industry. The cause of the condition is not yet fully understood, and prior to this research there was very little evidence base for its treatment or prevention.

Following a multidisciplinary approach, significant advances in the understanding of the epidemiology, pathology, microbiology and treatment of CODD have now been made by and include new advice aimed at reducing antimicrobial use in the sheep industry.

The research projects were led by Dr Jennifer Duncan, Dr Dai- Grove White, Ms Helen Williams, Professor Stuart Carter, Dr Nick Evans and Dr Richard Blundell from the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health and formed the PhD projects of Joseph Angell and Leigh Sullivan.

“Joe and Leigh’s research has now provided the sheep industry with clear, practical, evidenced based guidance for the treatment and prevention of this very severe welfare problem of sheep,” explains Dr Jennifer Duncan. “However, there is very little point in doing the research if the findings do not reach the end users; in this case vets and farmers.

“Saturday’s event was a very enjoyable day for all and the first of many knowledge exchange activities planned for these projects to ensure we achieve this.”

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