Dichelobacter metapopulations and epidemiology of footrot in an endemically infected flock

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: School of Life Sciences

Abstract

to be confirmed

Publications

10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/N504014/1 05/10/2015 04/10/2019
1645064 Studentship BB/N504014/1 05/10/2015 30/09/2019 Zoë Willis
 
Title 2017 AHDB Beef and Lamb Antimicrobial Usage briefing document and infographics 
Description I put together a one page briefing document on managing foot health in ewes in winter and to go with it I designed an infographic. I made two versions; one aimed at farmers and one aimed at vets and advisors. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Knowledge transfer 
 
Title 2018-2019 Lameness in sheep animated videos 
Description I worked with an animation producer to produce four animated films on lameness in sheep aimed at farmers as a more engaging way of transfer our knowledge and recommendations. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Knowledge transfer. 
 
Description Footrot, primarily caused by Dichelobacter nodosus, causes 70% of foot lesions in sheep in the UK. There are two clinical presentations: interdigital dermatitis (ID), inflammation of the skin between the toes, and severe footrot (SFR) where hoof horn separates from the underlying tissue. Several factors within D. nodosus have been linked with the severity of footrot but there is no clear association. The severity of footrot may be dependent on several types of D. nodosus (strains) co-existing to cause disease.
From two feet of 25 ewes from one farm, the interdigital skin was swabbed and the level of ID and SFR recorded on at least 16 occasions over 10 months. Both ID and SFR were scored separately from 0 being healthy to 4 where there was severe disease. The quantity of D. nodosus present was measured from these samples. The numbers of D. nodosus increased with ID score but showed no relationship with SFR score. The numbers of D. nodosus were much lower one week after treatment with either injectable antibiotics plus antibiotic foot spray or foot trimming plus antibiotic foot spray, indicating that both were effective in reducing the numbers of D. nodosus on feet, possibly because of the action of the antibiotic spray. This would reduce the spread of the harmful bacteria. There is no association between D. nodosus serogroup and disease. Also, the "virulent" acidic protease linked with disease was detected on all apparently healthy samples tested. The "benign" acidic protease was never found solely on healthy samples tested. This suggests that present of these acidic proteases is not a good indicator of disease in the UK. To further investigate the dynamics of D. nodosus in relation to serogroups, acidic protease and disease state, 567 D. nodosus whole genome sequences of sufficient quality were analysed. Of these, 151 were internationally sourced from previously published papers, 304 were from the single UK farm which was analysed in the early part of this project, and 112 were new isolates sourced internationally. The single UK farms sequences fitted into three distinct clades. Analysis of one of these clades revealed that the most recent common ancestor was dated to the same year as when new stock arrived onto the farm. Ths highlights the importance of biosecurity measures being in place to minimise the development of new strains of D. nodosus that may cause new outbreaks of footrot. Analysis of all 567 sequences yielded no patterns with regards to serogroups, acidic protease or disease state, apart from acidic protease appearing to mirror the geographical divergence.
Exploitation Route The findings related to treatment provide evidence that use of antibiotic foot spray is key to reducing bacteria on feet and so reduce the spread of harmful bacteria.
Also, investigation of phylogenetic associations between the fimbrial serogroups could help decipher any relationships with disease state and help with vaccine development. If metagenomic techniques could be refined for obtaining high quality assemblies of D. nodosus from mixed swab samples, this could give further detail to D. nodosus presence without relying on culture-based detection. Analyses of a larger sample set of the range of SFR presentations may give more insight into changes in D. nodosus load by SFR severity score.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

 
Description Collaboration with Prof David Aanensen & Prof Julian Parkhill at the Wellcome Sanger Institute 
Organisation Wellcome Genome Campus
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I expanded their veterinary related research and provided knowledge on a bacterium new to them.
Collaborator Contribution They provided me with the bioinformatics and software training I needed to be able to analyse my whole genome sequences. They also covered the cost of submitting >500 samples for whole genome sequencing.
Impact Able to analyse whole genome sequences and produce plots to represent the relationships between samples.
Start Year 2018
 
Description 07/06/2017 University of Warwick Research Poster Competition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I was runner up in the university of Warwick Research Poster Competition where we had to present our work to potentially anyone from the University so people who would not be familiar with veterinary epidemiology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description 09/02/2016 University of Warwick Green Group organised farmer meeting to discuss lameness in sheep 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Approximately 100 farmers attended a meeting arranged by our research group to discuss lameness in sheep. The farmers were put into groups of about 8 with one of our research group present in each farmer group. There was a presentation on our findings from our group's research and then times for discussion on various aspects like treatment and prevention of lameness where farmers could discuss their approaches and perhaps what they could do differently. This was positively received and there was very good feedback from the farmers who found it very useful and we learnt a great deal from the engaging discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 18/11/2017 AHDB Beef and Lamb Sheep Breeders Round Table 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I presented a poster on my latest research to farmers who attended this meeting on all aspects of sheep breeding. We also engaged farmers with our recommendations on managing lameness in sheep.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 AHDB annual symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact AHDB Beef & Lamb co-fund my project and organise a 2 day symposium every year for postgraduate students funded AHDB to present their work. In 2015 I gave a brief presentation on the work I planned to do for my project. In 2016 and 2017 I presented a poster on my latest findings and in 2018 I will be giving a longer presentation on my final findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018
 
Description 2016, 2017, 2018 Attending sheep shows to present our research to farmers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I attended South Sheep Show in 2016 and South West Sheep Show in 2017 and will be attending a similar show in 2018. We present our research group's latest work to farmers and engage them in discussions about what they do to manage lameness and what they could do differently.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
 
Description 2016, 2017, 2018 University of Warwick annual postgraduate symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact In 2016, 2017 and 2018 I produced an abstract on the current outcomes of my PhD. In 2017 I presented a poster on my most recent findings and in 2018 I will be giving a presentation on the outcomes of my work so far.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
 
Description 2017, 2018 Workshop on lameness in sheep to Cambridge Vet School students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact In 2017 I participated in presenting knowledge and advice on all aspects of lameness in sheep from the background of the disease to treatment and prevention. There were also activities where the students were split into two groups and given an example scenario of a sheep farmer and how he currently manages lameness and from seeing our presentation what recommendations would they give to the farmer. I will be doing this again in 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description 24/07/2017 and 21/10/2017 University of Warwick Undergraduate Open Days 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Our research group had a stall where we presented they kind of things we do in our research group to potential undergraduate students. We demonstrated the range of skills you can learn and possibilities that there are in postgraduate research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description 29-31/03/2017 SVEPM Conference in Inverness 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I did a brief poster pitch and presented a poster at the SVEPM 3-day Conference to PhD students and other academics and industry members in the veterinary epidemiology sector on my latest findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description 30-31/10/2017 BBSRC Animal Research Club 5th Dissemination Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I won the prize for the best poster which I presented at the ARC meeting on the latest findings from my research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Footrot Symposium at the University of Warwick 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a presentation on my research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster at BSAS Conference 2018 & 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I gave a poster pitch on my research at the BSAS Conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation at ISVEE Conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a presentation on my research at the ISVEE Conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation at MedVetPathogens Conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a presentation on my research at the MedVetPathogens Conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018