New insight into the prevalence and risk factors for three distinct hoof conformation traits in UK commercial sheep flocks

Best, C.M., Roden, J., Phillips, K., Pyatt, A.Z. and Behnke, M.C. (2021) New insight into the prevalence and risk factors for three distinct hoof conformation traits in UK commercial sheep flocks. Veterinary Sciences, 8 (9).

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Abstract

Lameness in sheep continues to be a global health, welfare and economic concern. Damaged, misshapen or overgrown feet have the potential to cause lameness either directly, or indirectly. There is a lack of understanding of the predisposing factors for different hoof conformation traits in sheep. Our exploratory study aimed to investigate the prevalence of, and risk factors for, three distinct hoof conformation traits relating to the sole and heel, hoof wall, and hoof wall overgrowth. Feet of 400 ewes from four UK commercial sheep farms were inspected at four time points across 12 months. For each conformation trait, a four-point ordinal system was used to score each individual claw, and foot-level scores were calculated. We present 92.4% of foot-level observations to be affected by ≥1 conformation traits. Whilst hoof conformation traits were correlated to some degree, a unique set of sheep-, foot- and farm-level factors were associated with each distinct conformation trait. We provide, for the first time, key insight into the multifaceted and multifactorial aetiology of hoof conformation in sheep, building upon previous landmark studies. Our results inform hypotheses for future prospective studies investigating the risk factors for adverse hoof conformation in sheep.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: lameness, sheep, damaged, misshapen, overgrown, hoof conformation, prevalence, risk factors
Divisions: Veterinary Health and Animal Sciences (from 1.08.20)
Depositing User: Mrs Rachael Harper
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2021 10:03
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2021 10:03
URI: https://hau.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/17747

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