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 virulent footrot is a notifiable disease in NSW with regulatory support for compulsory eradication programs in infected flocks.