An industry-wide collaboration has been launched to educate and inform vets and the farmers they advise on all aspects of sheep foot health.
Complete with a range of resources, the #HealthyFeetHappySheep campaign is led by the Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group (SAGG) and is the direct outcome of work by the Farm Vet Champion scheme.
Running from this month to December, the collaboration aims to engage with as many vets working with sheep and farmer clients as possible.
Fiona Lovatt, independent sheep specialist who has developed the campaign, said: “We all know that maintaining healthy feet in flocks not only benefits sheep welfare, but improves farmer well-being, with less time, money and stress being diverted to dealing with lameness issues.
“A sound flock always means better flock sustainability and overall performance.
“We have plenty of evidence to show that we need to use injectable antibiotics to effectively treat lame sheep, but we are encouraging the use of ‘Plan Prevent Protect’ principles to reduce the chances of sheep going lame in the first place.
“Currently, the majority of antibiotics used in the sheep sector are for dealing with lameness, hence our emphasis on maintaining healthy feet.”
A website has been set up and features downloadable assets for vets, including a toolkit to aid them on flock visits and resources to help them run flock health clubs or sheep farmer meetings.
Short films have been created with sheep vets, as well as sheep farmer Gareth Wyn Jones, who has more than a million followers on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram and YouTube
Sheep vet Phillipa Page, who is also a Farm Vet Champion and features in the videos, said: “It is so rewarding for both the vet and the farmer to see the impact that working together can make.
“We made some small tweaks to management practices in one flock and we were both delighted to see lameness reduce from 16% to 2% over last winter.”
Credit to: Healthy Feet Happy Sheep launches with cross-sector support (Vet Times)
Vet Times. (2023). Healthy Feet Happy Sheep launches with cross-sector support [online]
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