Breeding for resistance to footrot – the use of hoof lesion scoring to quantify footrot in sheep

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So that genetic studies can be undertaken on footrot in sheep, it is necessary that a reliable and repeatable method to categorise the phenotype is available. This paper summarises the methods used and results obtained from 1600 hoof lesion scores of 100 mixed-age ewes independently scored twice by two trained operators. Using a 5-pont scale describing the severity of foot lesions, residual correlations were used to assess agreement between scorers and scoring occasions. Data were analysed using both zero-1 and continuous data methods. The average prevalence of any score >0 was 15%, and of scores >1 was 12%. The residual correlation between scorers for SUM_FR was 0.87 and between scoring occasions it was also 0.87, indicating high repeatability or agreement both within and between scorers. No significant differences were detected between scorers or between scoring occasions for any of the traits analysed, or different analytical methods used.

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