Tactics on Preventing Small Ruminant Footrot

Small Ruminant footrot is caused by an infection from two organisms: Dichelobacter Nodosus and Fusobacterium Necrophorum. Fusobacterium necrophorum is in most sheep and goat environments and can set the stage for footrot to occur. Dichelobacter nodosus produces a powerful enzymes that dissolves hoof and leads to the undermining of the sole that leaves your flock or herd with severe lameness. Here are some ways to prevent it and treat it:

Signs of Footrot

Rams in a pin. Photo was taken 10-02-21
  • Lameness
  • Pain and discomfort in the hoof area
  • Redness or inflamed tissue between toes
  • Foul smell around hoof area
  • Goat or sheep grazing on knees
  • Laying down for an extended amount of time


  • Call your local veterinarian to see what type of antibiotics they would recommend
  • Foot bathing (zinc/sulfate solution) for up to 15 mins to dry hoof tissue
  • Separate the animals that are infected from the rest of the herd/flock

What causes it?

  • A bacteria that is commonly found in wet soil conditions when mud and manure have been allowed to accumulate
  • Highly contagious in wet/moist areas where animals congregate
  • Infected animals spreading it to the herd/flock


  • Provide good drainage for water in pastures and paddocks
  • Pasture rotation
  • Practice regular hoof trimming
  • Quarantine all new animals that could carry the bacteria
  • Buy animals from a reputable breeder


  • Keep the area where livestock congregate high and dry
  • Remove animals with signs of footrot away from other livestock
  • Enforce a strict biosecurity protocol which includes not introducing new livestock with disease


  • Keep a close observation of your livestock during the wet season
  • Do not buy sheep or goats with footrot
  • Quarantine new livestock for at least 30 days
  • Hoofs should be trimmed 1 to 2 times a year
  • Talk with your veterinarian if you see signs of footrot

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Posted: April 18, 2022

Category: Agriculture, EDUCATION, Farm Management, Livestock, Pests & Disease, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, Work & Life
Tags: Footrot, Infection, P, Prevention, Tactics, Treatment

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