First cases of contagious ovine digital dermatitis in Germany
Contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD) is a significant disease of the ovine foot characterised by severe lameness and progressive separation of the hoof horn capsule from the underlying tissue. Similar to bovine digital dermatitis (BDD), pathogenic members of the genus Treponema including the Treponema medium phylogroup, Treponema phagedenis phylogroup and Treponema pedis are frequently found together in CODD lesions. To date, CODD was only described in Ireland and the United Kingdom. In northern Germany, cases of an unusually severe lameness presented in a sheep flock that had been affected by footrot for several years. These cases were non-responsive to conventional footrot therapies, with some sheep exhibiting substantial lesions of the claw horn that resulted in horn detachment. Lesion swab samples were collected from both clinically affected and asymptomatic animals. In all clinically affected sheep, CODD-associated Treponema phylogroups were detected by polymerase chain reaction. This is the first report of CODD in Germany and mainland Europe, indicating a wider geographic spread than previously considered. In cases of severe lameness attributed to claw lesions in sheep that fail to respond to footrot treatment, CODD should be considered irrespective of geographic location.