General Health Problems of Sheep/Goats

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Information about General Health Problems of Sheep/Goats

Published on February 19, 2014

Author: schoenian



This is the 4th presentation in a 5-part webinar series on Sheep & Goat Health.


MOST COMMON DISEASES AFFECTING SHEEP AND GOATS • Parasitic • Respiratory • Hoof • Reproductive • Metabolic • Other diseases

PARASITIC DISEASES Sheep and goats can be affected by many different internal and external parasites. INTERNAL (ENDO) EXTERNAL (ECTO) 1. Helminths (multi-cellular) 1. Ticks 2. Keds 3. Biting lice 4. Sucking lice 5. Mites 6. Nasal bots (bot flies) a) Nematodes (roundworms) b) Cestodes (tapeworms) c) Trematodes (flukes) 2. Protozoa (single-cell)

INTERNAL PARASITES NEMATODES - ROUNDWORMS Strongyle-type worms Blood-feeding worms • Haemonchus contortus (barber pole worm) * • Bunostomum (hookworm) “Scour” worms • Cooperia (small intestinal worm) • Nematodirus (threadworm) • Oesophagostomum (nodule form) • Teladorsagia (brown stomach worm)* • Trichostrongylus (hair worm)* • Trichuris ovis (whipworm) • • Lungworms Meningeal worm Bottle jaw - barber pole worm infection

STRONGYLE-TYPE WORMS OF IMPORTANCE HAEMONCHUS CONTORTUS #1 Barber pole worm • Blood-feeding parasite that causes blood and protein loss (anemia) and bottle jaw and sudden death. TRICHOSTRONGYLUS SPP. and TELADOSAGIA (OSTERTAGIA) • Cause gastritis and enteritis in host: weight loss, diarrhea, production loss. • Usually of secondary importance to Haemonchus in mixed parasitic infections. • Short, simple life cycles: no intermediate host • Able to go into hypobiotic (arrested) state (in animal) to survive unfavorable environmental conditions (e.g. winter). • Control with management: pasture rest/rotation, clean pastures, annual pastures, mixed species grazing, tanniferous forages, browsing, minimum grazing heights, zero grazing, genetic selection, etc. • Control with targeted, selective treatment(s) with effective anthelmintic(s); test for anthelmintic resistance every 2-3 years.

OTHER ROUNDWORMS LUNGWORMS MUELLERIUS CAPILLARIES, DICTOCAULUS FILARIAL • Prefer cool conditions. Muellerious requires an intermediate host. • Diagnosis is based on clinical signs, finding larvae in feces (Baermann technique), and post-mortem exam. • Symptoms Usually no signs of infection In severe cases, coughing, rapid breathing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, and ill thrift. • Most anthelmintics are effective against lungworms. • Generally not very pathogenic; more problematic in goats , especially kids (?) MENINGEAL WORM PARALAPHOSTRONGYLUS TENIUS • Parasite of white tail deer • Sheep, goats, and camelids are unnatural, dead end hosts (no eggs in feces) for parasite. • Require intermediate host: terrestrial snail or slug • Digestive tract  central nervous system. Cause neurological symptoms , paralysis, death. • Treat with fenbendazole, ivermectin, and antiinflammatory drugs (Rx). • Prevention (?) Monthly treatments with ivermectin. Control of snail, slug population • Can be a significant problem on some farms.

OTHER HELMINTH PARASITES CESTODES - TAPEWORMS MONIEZIA SPP. TREMATODES - FLUKES FASCIOLA HEPATICA • Only parasite that is visible in feces (tapeworm segments). • Oval-shape, leaf-like • Require intermediate host (pasture mites) to complete life cycle (6 weeks). • Tend to be non-pathogenic; usually no benefit to treatment. • Can treat with albendazole, fenbendazole (Rx), or praziquantel (Quest® Plus Gel, Rx). • Require intermediate host (snail, slug) to complete life cycle (2-3 months). • Diagnose by finding eggs in feces and post-mortem exam (liver damage, flukes in bile ducts). • Cause liver damage and hemorrhage. Similar symptoms as barber pole worm: anemia, submandibular edema (bottle jaw), sudden death. • Treat with albendazole, closantel (Rx), and Ivomec® Plus (Rx). • Geographic distribution: Gulf Coast States, especially Florida, and Pacific Northwest.

PROTOZOA: COCCIDIA (EIMERIA SPP.) • Single-cell protozoa • Species specific • Not all strains are pathogenic • More complicated life cycle than worms, e.g. spores and asexual reproduction. • Affects mostly young animals, 1-6 months of age, especially weanlings. • Adults are largely immune, but serve as reservoirs of infection.

COCCIDIOSIS (EIMERIA SPP.) • Symptoms Clinical (5%) vs. sub-clinical (95%) Scours (diarrhea): none to mild to severe Ill-thrift, anorexia, lethargy, dehydration Dirty hocks, rough coat, open fleece • Treatment Drench with amprolium (Corid) or sulfa antibiotic* for 5 days (Rx). Supportive therapy as needed. • Prevention Good management, sanitation, and nutrition. Coccidiostats in feed, water, or mineral: Corid (Rx), Bovatec®, Rumensin®, or Deccox®.

EXTERNAL PARASITES SYMPTOMS TREATMENT • Ticks, mites, lice, keds Excessive rubbing and scratching, Irritation and itching Biting at self Loss of hair, wool Raw areas • Specific treatment recommendations vary by pest. • Nasal bots Nasal discharge Head shaking, teeth grinding Snorting with head to ground • Insecticides* Mostly permethrin-based Pour-ons*, sprays, dips, and aerosols Some Rx • Anthelmintics (Rx for goats) Ivermectin* (drench) Moxidectin (drench) * recommended Ivomec® is only labeled for the control of nasal bots in sheep. Cydectin® is not labeled for external parasite control.

RESPIRATORY DISEASE IN SHEEP AND GOATS • Respiratory problems are common in sheep and goats; they can have many causes, including bacteria, viruses, tumors, parasites, and aspiration. • Common bacterial causes of pneumonia in sheep/goats include Pasteurella multocida, Mannheamia haemolytica, mycoplasma • Respiratory disease is characterized by fever (>104°F), coughing, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, weakness, and death. • Prevent with management, e.g. good nutrition, sanitation, proper ventilation, and vaccination (pasteurella). • Treat with antibiotics: penicillin, LA-200®, Nuflur®*, Naxcel®, or Excenel® (Rx)* and anti-inflammatory drugs (Rx)*.

THREE HOOF DISEASES THAT COMMONLY INFECT SUSCEPTIBLE SHEEP AND GOATS. FOOT SCALD FOOTROT FOOT ABSCESS • An inflammation or redness between toes (claws) of hoof. • Infection of hoof: involves separation of horny portions of hoof from the underlying sensitive areas. • Bacterial infection of damaged hoof tissue, causing formation of abscess inside. • Characteristic foul odor.

FOOT SCALD FOOTROT FOOT ABSCESS • Foot scald is caused by a bacteria that is present on all sheep and goat farms: Fusobacterium necrophorum. • Foot rot requires the interaction of two anaerobic bacteria: F. necrophorum + Dichelobacter nodosus. • Foot abscesses are caused by bacteria that are normally found on farms, e.g. actinomyces spp. • It is not thought to be contagious. • Occurs during periods of wet weather. • D. nodosus does not infect healthy hooves. • D. nodosus is introduced to a farm via infected hooves. • D. nodosus can only survive outside of hoof for 14 d. • Usually an individual animal problem; mostly mature, heavy animals. • Treatment Antibiotics • Seems to be more of a problem with goats than sheep. • Highly contagious. • Treatment Topical treatment or foot soak with zinc sulfate solution. • Treatment and eradication Hoof trimming + foot soaking + culling (+ antibiotics/UK) • Hard to eradicate.

REPRODUCTIVE PROBLEMS • Abortion • Dystocia • Ringwomb • Prolapses • Mastitis • Pregnancy toxemia • Milk fever

ABORTION Termination of pregnancy, stillbirths, weak offspring, congenital abnormalities 1-5% loss is normal. Hard to know how many is normal in a small flock/herd. • Infectious causes of abortion (zoonotic!) Top three causes Campylobacter (vibrio) Chlamydia (enzootic, EAE) Toxoplasmosis (coccidia of cat) Less common causes Border disease (related to BVD) Brucellosis Cache Valley Virus Leptospirosis Listeriosis Salmonella Q fever Bluetongue (virus) • Non-infectious causes of abortion Nutrition, stress, diseases, near-term situations • During an abortion storm Wear gloves! Isolate aborting ewes/does Remove and destroy all bedding and aborted material Thoroughly disinfect pens Submit samples for necropsy (50% chance of diagnosis) Feed antibiotics to remaining females (goats, Rx) Antibiotic injections to remaining females (Rx) • Prevention Maintain a closed flock or herd Vaccinate at-risk flocks/herds (vibrio, Chlamydia) Vaccinate replacement females (vibrio, Chlamydia) Purchase maiden ewes/does Feed ionophore during late gestation (Rx). Feed antibiotic during late gestation (goats, Rx) Good sanitation Keep cats from contaminating feed and bedding

DYSTOCIA (DIFFICULT BIRTHS) • Disproportionate size Large offspring Small pelvic opening • Malpresentation Elbow lock Leg(s) back Head back Breech (tail only) Swollen head Simultaneous births Dead and deformed Other Backwards is also normal. • Ringwomb Failure of cervix to dilate • Assisting with difficult births • If no progress after 45-60 minutes of hard labor (after water breaks), examine ewe/doe, identify problem (if any), and correct (if necessary). • Wear gloves or OB sleeves. • Make liberal use of lubricant. • Gentle, steady pressure and manipulation. • After 30 minutes of trying and no progress, call a veterinarian or experienced shepherd for help. • Give antibiotic after assisted deliveries. Special case: ringwomb Do not attempt to pull lambs/kids C-section

VAGINAL PROLAPSE • Occurs during last month of pregnancy • Contributing factors Excessive body condition Multiple births High fiber diets Limited exercise Overcrowding at feeders Previous vaginal prolapse Genetic predisposition • Treatment Replace after cleaning Use suture, bearing retainer, harness, or truss to hold prolapse in until lambing. • Prevention Proper nutrition Adequate feeder space Cull affected ewes and don’t save their offspring UTERINE PROLAPSE • Occurs immediately after or 12 to 48 hours after parturition. • Can be life threatening • Contributing factors Excessive straining from difficult birth Uterine infection Hypocalcemia • Treatment Wash and replace (administer epidural, Rx) Uterine relaxant (oxytocin, Rx) Antibiotics Okay to keep for another year

MASTITIS - INFLAMMATION OF UDDER SUB-CLINICAL CLINICAL • Mostly costly form • Symptoms Limping No (little) milk: starving lambs, kids Lumps in udder Swelling of udder, “hot” to touch Depression, fever, poor appetite Gangrene, death • Symptoms Nothing obvious, but adverse effects on production. Can detect with SCC and CMT. • Treatment Systemic antibiotics Intramammary antibiotics (Rx) • Cull chronically-infected ewes and does.

RISK FACTORS FOR MASTITIS • Most infections are caused by bacteria: Streptococcus spp., Staphylococcus spp., Pasteurella spp., and coliforms (e. coli). Mastitis is also a common symptom of OPP and CAE. Predisoposing factors • Stressful conditions (e.g. weather) • Poor sanitation, hygiene • Teat and udder damage • Poor udder conformation • Heavy-milkers, age • Sore mouth • Genetic susceptibility

PREGNANCY TOXEMIA AND MILK FEVER • Metabolic diseases that commonly affect pregnant and lactating ewes and does. Pregnancy toxemia Late gestation Milk fever Late gestation (ewes) Early lactation (does) • Diseases present with similar symptoms • Can be differentiated by response to treatment: energy (glucose) vs. calcium. • Early treatment can be successful. • Is usually a flock or herd problem: primarily nutrition

PREGNANCY TOXEMIA (KETOSIS) MILK FEVER (HYPOCALCEMIA) • Cause • Cause Low blood calcium (Ca) Inadequate energy (TDN) in late gestation diet Low blood glucose Elevated ketone levels in urine Inadequate Ca in late gestation diet or failure to mobilize Ca reserves (too much Ca in diet). • Symptoms Off feed, lethargy Lack of coordination, recumbency • Symptoms Off feed, unsteady gait Legs splayed out • Treatment Early: oral propylene glycol, IV glucose Advanced: induce labor, c-section • Treatment Oral, Sub-Q, or IV calcium solution • Prevention Adequate energy in late gestation diet • Prevention Proper amount of Ca in late gestation diet Usually necessary (advisable) to feed grain, specially to high-producing ewes and does. • Sheep: Ca requirements peak in late gestation • Goats : Ca requirements similar throughout gestation.

COMMON DIGESTIVE/METABOLIC DISEASES • Milk fever • Pregnancy toxemia • Acidosis • Bloat • Urinary calculi

ACIDOSIS Grain poisoning, grain overload, engorgement • Production of large quantities of lactic acid which lowers rumen pH. • Caused by rapid fermentation of carbohydrates. • Associated with feeding grains, pellets, and by-product feeds. Can also occur on rapidly growing pastures and when feeding high quality silage. • Clinical vs. sub-clinical Acute clinical - life-threatening Mild clinical - depression, diarrhea, bloat Sub-clinical - reduced performance, laminitis • Treatment Remove grain from ration; feed hay Sodium bicarbonate Antacids • Prevention Gradual adaptation to high starch diets Do not crack or grind grains Feed additives: bentonite, sodium bicarb, limestone, rumen modifiers (ionophores), antibiotics, yeast.

BLOAT • Caused by an accumulation of gas in the rumen and reticulum; animal unable to belch. There are two kinds of bloat: • Frothy Caused by diets that promote the formation of froth (foam): legumous forages, wet, grass pastures, cereal grain pastures, garden greens, and grain. • Free gas Caused by diets that promote excessive free gas production: high-grain diets . • Abomasal bloat can occur in artificiallyreared lambs/kids. It is caused by improper milk feeding. • Symptoms Severity varies, can be life-threatening or self-curing. Distended abdomen, swelling on left side • Treatment Varies by severity Passage of stomach tube (free gas) Drench with vegetable oil, mineral oil, antacid • Prevention Introduce to feed or pasture slowly Feed dry stemmy hay before allowing access to legume pastures Commercial bloat preventatives, ionophores, baking soda Proper milk feeding.

URINARY CALCULI (“WATER BELLY”) • Blockage of urinary tract by calculi (kidney stones) Most common in wethers; intact males also susceptible Caused by improper feeding (too much phosphorus, P) • Symptoms Restlessness, anxiety, off-feed Abdominal pain, humped-up appearance Straining, urine dribbling Distended abdomen, edema • Treatment Depends upon location of obstruction Ammonium chloride drench  surgery Often not rewarding • Prevention Feed a properly balanced ration. Ca: P ratio of >2:1. Adequate forage in diet Adequate water intake Addition of ammonium chloride to diet

COMMON NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS Differential diagnoses: scrapie, rabies, meningeal worm, pregnancy toxemia, enterotoxemia LISTERIOSIS (CIRCLING DISEASE) POLIOENCEPHALOMALACIA (POLIO) • Bacterial disease caused by listeria monocytogenes (widespread) Primary source is spoiled feed and forage (especially silage). • Disturbance in thiamine metabolism. Commonly associated with high concentrate diets (lower rumen pH), high sulfur diets, amprolium (Corid), and ingestion of thiaminase or thiamine antogonists. • Symptoms Infection limited to one side of brain One-sided appearance of paralysis Disorientation, drooling, drooping ear Lean against objects; walk in “circles” Can also cause abortion (zoonotic). • Treatment Prompt and aggressive antibiotic therapy: penicillin or tetracycline (Rx). • Symptoms Blindness, star gazing, head pressing • Treatment High doses of thiamine (Rx). Complete recovery is possible if treatment is initiated in early stages of disease.

INFECTIOUS KERATOCONJUNCTIVITIS - PINK EYE • Infectious and contagious; tends to occur as an outbreak in a flock or herd. • Many causative organisms. Most common are Chlamydia psittaci ovis and Mycoplasma conjunctivae. • Symptoms Discharge from eye, wet below eye Aversion towards light Red and irritated membranes Cloudy or opaque membranes • Treatment Isolation in shady area Antibiotic therapy: Terramycin® opthamalic, LA-200® (Rx), penicillin (Rx), mastitis treatments (Rx). • Prevention Maintain a closed flock or herd. Quarantine new animals or those returning from show.

SORE MOUTH (ORF) • Most common skin problem in sheep/goats. Caused by a virus in pox family. Contagious to other animals and people (zoonotic) • Symptoms Lesions on mouth, nose, feet, limbs, udder, and genital areas. Takes 1-4 weeks for disease to run its course. • Treatment Usually unrewarding Treat secondary bacterial infections that may result. • Prevention Maintain a closed flock or herd. Quarantine new animals and those returning from a show. Once infected, vaccinate to control outbreaks. Where gloves when vaccinating or handling infected animals.


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