Footrot in sheep and goats


Footrot is a contagious bacterial disease of sheep and goats, caused by the organism Dichelobacter nodosus (D. nodosus) in association with a number of other bacteria.

There are many strains of D. nodosus and they vary in the severity of the disease they cause. In an infected flock, several strains of D. nodosus may be present. For regulatory purposes, footrot infection is classified as either benign or virulent at the flock level.

With full expression, virulent footrot is a severe, debilitating disease with significant economic loss from reduced wool growth and quality, poor ewe fertility, poor growth rates, losses from blowfly strike, and reduced value of sale sheep. In infected flocks, there are also significant costs associated with the control of the disease.

Because of these animal welfare and economic impacts, footrot is a notifiable disease in NSW with regulatory support for compulsory eradication in flocks diagnosed with virulent footrot.

Topics include:

  • The NSW Footrot Strategic Plan
  • Footrot – the disease
  • Strain differentiation
  • Distinguishing between the forms of footrot
  • Footrot scoring guide
  • Dealing with footrot
  • Phases of an eradication program
  • Footrot in goats
  • Footrot in cattle


Primefact 1533 Sixth Edition

Published: Feb 2023