Association of treponeme species with atypical foot lesions in goats

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Abstract

Five UK goat farms with high levels of lameness (prevalence 14–67 per cent) were investigated. On two farms (farms 1 and 2), the animals presented with typical footrot lesions. The remaining three farms (farms 3, 4 and 5) presented with infected lesions on the foot that did not resemble footrot. These lesions were observed to start from the white line or sole but the interdigital space was rarely affected. Swabs were processed by PCR to assess the presence of Dichelobacter nodosus and three specific treponeme groups (group 1: Treponema medium/Treponema vincentii-like, group 2: Treponema phagedenis-like and group 3: Treponema denticola/Treponema putidum-like) that are reported to be associated with bovine digital dermatitis and contagious ovine digital dermatitis. On farms 1 and 2, 85.7 per cent of samples were found to be positive for D nodosus while only 9.5 per cent were positive for treponeme groups 1, 2 and 3. In contrast, 5.3 per cent of samples from farms 3, 4 and 5 were positive for D nodosus, while 34.2, 68.4 and 36.8 per cent of samples from these farms tested positive for treponeme groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively. T medium/T vincentii-like, T phagedenis-like and T denticola/T putidum-like treponemes were detected on foot lesions of lame goats suggesting that they have a role in the aetiology of this lameness, which has not previously been described in dairy goats.

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