In 2012, 2000 questionnaires were sent to a random sample of Welsh sheep farmers. The questionnaire investigated farmers' knowledge and views on contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) - an emerging disease of sheep responsible for causing severe lameness, welfare and production problems. The overall response rate was 28.3% with a usable response rate of 25.6%. The between farm prevalence of CODD was 35.0% and the median farmer estimated prevalence of CODD was 2.0%. The disease now appears endemic and widespread in Wales. Furthermore, there has been a rapid increase in reports of CODD arriving on farms since the year 2000. Risk factors for CODD identified in this study include the presence of bovine digital dermatitis (BDD) in cattle on the farm and larger flocks. Farmers also consider concurrent footrot/interdigital dermatitis, buying in sheep, adult sheep, time of year and housing to be associated with CODD. Further experimental research is necessary to establish whether these observations are true associations.
Keywords: Contagious ovine digital dermatitis; Epidemiology; Infectious foot disease; Lameness; Sheep; Welfare.
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