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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72



There is one more common disease, and that is footrot. It is fortunately not fatal, but it is very troublesome to cure, and is most page 31 contagious. It may be prevented, though, to a large extent by watchfulness and preventive measures. It breaks out spontaneously in wet seasons even on what is usually sound land. A continuance of wet weather causes an excessive growth of grass, which keeps the feet of the sheep constantly damp and develops the disease. A farmer who is alert will observe the signs which will lead to its development, and should take precautions against an outbreak. During a wet time of any extension it is prudent to pass the sheep occasionally through the footrot trough, containing a solution of arsenic, bluestone or carbolic, and as a preventive the solution need not be very strong. In this way, if care is taken, an outbreak and much future trouble and loss may be avoided. The disease is too serious to be trifled with on account of its extreme contagion and difficulty to cure, and on account of the very debilitating and attenuating nature of the disease. While on the subject of this disease, I will shortly depart from the rule I set myself at the outset—not to touch on the curative treatment of diseases. I have an idea which I should like to see carried out for curing footrot. The circumstances of my own farm do not make it necessary that I should make the experiment; the idea is this, that a flat concrete trough should be employed, and that the liquid should be kept at a suitable temperature by means of steam pipes surrounding or traversing the interior of the trough; a warm liquid is much more penetrating than a cold, and I know from small experiments I have made that it is much more effective as a cure. I believe if foot-rotty sheep were set to stand ten minutes or so in such a trough of warmed footrot solution of moderate strength, a cure would be rapidly effected, and that without the paring of the feet. In treating this disease the infected sheep should, if it can be managed, be separated from the sound, and the sheep when once dressed removed, if practicable, to ground which has not pastured infected sheep. Unhappily few farms afford this convenience.

This paper only deals with a few of the more common of sheep diseases, and if I have laid much stress on the preventive aspect of the question, it is not because I think slightingly of curative treatment, only that prevention is, I think, the more important.