sheep on path

Unravelling the causes of contagious ovine digital dermatitis

Contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) is an infectious disease causing lameness in sheep. Researchers from the University of Liverpool have been investigating possible causes and ways to prevent CODD.

Our research

We tracked the clinical progression as well as metagenomic and qPCR analyses of infected sheep throughout a natural outbreak of contagious ovine digital dermatitis, an important infectious disease causing lameness in sheep. These analyses further dissect the cause of this important disease and enable identification of key pathogens and infection reservoirs (1,2). We further clarified the contribution of footrot within the aetiology of contagious ovine digital dermatitis (1) which has underpinned advice to the sheep industry lameness manual. We demonstrated that gloves become contaminated with the associated pathogens during foot trimming and describe best practice for disinfection (3). We have also been involved in reporting the first outbreak of CODD in mainland Europe (4) and published a manuscript dissecting the aetiology of a novel ulcerative leg lesion of sheep (5).

Research outputs

1. Duncan, J. S., Angell, J. W., Richards, P., Lenzi, L., Staton, G. J., Grove-White, D., . . . Evans, N. J. (2021). The dysbiosis of ovine foot microbiome during the development and treatment of contagious ovine digital dermatitis. Animal microbiome, 3(1), 19. doi:10.1186/s42523-021-00078-4 DOI: 10.1186/s42523-021-00078-4

2. Staton, G. J., Angell, J. W., Grove-White, D., Clegg, S. R., Carter, S. D., Evans, N. J., & Duncan, J. S. (2021). Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis: A Novel Bacterial Etiology and Lesion Pathogenesis. FRONTIERS IN VETERINARY SCIENCE, 8. doi:10.3389/fvets.2021.722461 DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2021.722461

3. Angell, J. W., Clegg, S. R., Grove-White, D. H., Blowey, R. W., Carter, S. D., Duncan, J. S., & Evans, N. J. (2017). Survival of contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD)-associated treponemes on disposable gloves after handling CODD-affected feet. VETERINARY RECORD, 181(4), 89. DOI: 10.1136/vr.104228

4. Tegtmeyer, P. C., Staton, G. J., Evans, N. J., Rohde, J., Punsmann, T. M., & Ganter, M. (2020). First cases of contagious ovine digital dermatitis in Germany. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 62(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13028-020-00544-0

5. Staton, G. J., Crosby-Durrani, H., Roberts, G., Duncan, J. S., Seechurn, N., Blowey, R., & Evans, N. J. (2020). Novel ulcerative leg lesions in yearling lambs: Clinical features, microbiology and histopathology. Veterinary Microbiology, 247. doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2020.108790 DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2020.108790


BBSRC RM Grant IPA with AHDB Beef and Lamb and HCC: Unravelling the aetiology of contagious ovine digital dermatitis. PIs: N. Evans & J. Duncan, D. Grove-White & S. Carter.


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