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The bacterial pedome associated with foot pathologies in sheep: a case study.

Chambers, Alex K.; Jones, H.G.; Wilkinson, Toby; Worgan, Hilary J.; Warr, A.; Huson, Kathryn M.; McEwan, Neil R.


Alex K. Chambers

H.G. Jones

Toby Wilkinson

Hilary J. Worgan

A. Warr

Kathryn M. Huson

Neil R. McEwan


Hoof lameness is considered to be a major health issue in sheep, and can impact on both animal welfare and production of livestock. However the causes, although generally assumed to have a microbiological basis, are poorly understood. The work presented here investigated the pedome (the bacterial community of the foot) of sheep which were seen to have one of the following conditions: foot rot; a toe granuloma; Ovine Interdigital Dermatitis (OID) / scald. These were compared relative to samples collected from the healthy feet of the same animals. Samples were collected from commercial lambs from two flocks of sheep (one Beulahs, one Suffolks) at times of routine husbandry work. All animals in the flocks and those which showed signs of lameness (7 per flock) were used for sample collection. Interdigital scrapes were collected from lame feet, together with controls (i.e. non-lame feet) from the same animals. Of the lame feet, 3 were classified as having foot rot, 10 had OID / scald and 1 had a toe granuloma. DNA was isolated from the interdigital scrapes and analysed by next generation sequencing following amplification of DNA by PCR. All foot rot samples showed unusual microbial communities: one having an elevated abundance of Fusobacterium spp.; another with an elevated level of a Corynebacterium sp.; and the third an increased level of a number of unidentified sequences. One of the OID samples also had a high abundance of Fusobacterium spp., and another had a similar pattern of unknown organisms to that seen in the example of the foot rot case. The toe granuloma case showed an elevated level of a Mycoplasma sp. Therefore the organisms described here are different from those previously identified in a similar investigation into this topic. However the other eight OID samples had patterns similar to those in controls. This suggests microbial communities associated with ovine foot rot are complex, and that there are bacteria associated with the condition which remain unknown.


CHAMBERS, A.K., JONES, H.G., WILKINSON, T., WORGAN, H.J., A. WARR, A., HUSON, K.M. and MCEWAN, N.R. 2018. The bacterial pedome associated with foot pathologies in sheep: a case study. Large animal review [online], 24(6), pages 243-246. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 27, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 22, 2019
Publication Date Dec 31, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 1, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 1, 2018
Journal Large animal review
Print ISSN 1124-4593
Publisher Italian Society of Farm Animals Veterinary Practitioners (SIVAR)
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 6
Pages 243-246
Keywords Sheep; Foot rot; Bacteria; Pedome
Public URL
Publisher URL


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