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A clinical trial comparing parenteral oxytetracyline and enrofloxacin on time to recovery in sheep lame with acute or chronic footrot in Kashmir, India

J Kaler1*, S A Wani2, I Hussain2, S A Beg2, M Makhdoomi2, Z A Kabli2 and L E Green3

Author Affiliations

1 The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK

2 Bacteriology Laboratory, Division of Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shuhama (Alusteng), Srinagar 190006, Jammu and Kashmir, India

3 School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

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BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:12  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-12

Published: 31 January 2012



No clinical trials have been conducted in India on the efficacy of parenteral antibacterials to treat footrot in sheep. In addition, there are no studies worldwide on the efficacy of parenteral antibacterials to treat chronic footrot. Sixty two sheep with acute footrot and 30 sheep with chronic footrot from 7 villages in Kashmir, India were recruited into two separate trials. Sheep with acute footrot were allocated to one of three treatments using stratified random sampling: long acting parenteral oxytetracycline, long acting parenteral enrofloxacin and topical application of potassium permanganate solution (a traditional treatment used by sheep farmers in India). In a quasi pre-post intervention design, sheep with chronic footrot that had not responded to treatment with potassium permanaganate were randomly allocated to treatment with one of the two parenteral antibacterials mentioned above. Sheep with acute footrot were treated on day 0 and those with chronic footrot on days 0, 3, 6 and 9. Sheep were monitored for up to 28 days after treatment. Time to recovery from lameness and initial healing of lesions was assessed using Kaplan-Meier survival curves, nonparametric log-rank and Wilcoxon sign-rank tests.


There was significant correlation in recovery from lameness and presence of healing lesions in sheep with acute (r = 0.94) or chronic (r = 0.98) footrot. Sheep with acute footrot which were treated with parenteral antibacterials had a significantly more rapid recovery from lameness and had healing lesions (median = 7 days) compared with those treated with topical potassium permanganate solution (less than 50% recovered in 28 days). The median time to recovery in sheep with chronic footrot treated with either antibacterial was 17 days; this was significantly lower than the median of 75 days lame before treatment with antibacterials. The median time to recovery for both acute and chronic footrot increased as the severity of lesions increased. There was no difference in time to recovery by age, body condition score, duration lame, or presence of pus in the foot within acute and chronically affected sheep.


We conclude that use of parenteral antibacterials to treat sheep lame with either acute or chronic footrot in India is highly effective. This is likely to improve welfare and give economic benefits to the farmers.