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Author Topic: Common Goat Problems  (Read 14222 times)
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mikey
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« Reply #45 on: April 17, 2008, 10:40:21 AM »

Uterine Prolapse
1361


A prolapse of the uterus is a more serious problem. It is more likely to occur if there has been a difficult delivery. If the animal is straining a lot due to constipation, this may increase the chances of prolapse. Diagnosis is fairly obvious. I really recommend that you get help from your veterinarian unless you are familiar with the procedure.
But here are the details if you want to try. First, separate the afterbirth from the uterus. If the bladder is exposed, empty it with a catheter. Wash the whole uterus with warm water and a mild antiseptic. It is said that sugar helps reduce the size. With your closed fist start pushing the thing back in. The uterus is very delicate at this time and will tear if you use your fingers. Push in between strains (which will be considerable in strength). It is important to make sure that both horns are pushed to a forward position. While holding everything in, insert a dosage of Nolvasan® or some suitable antibiotic. Then close the vulva with sutures, leaving a slight gap for urination. You will need to give penicillin or some type of systemic antibiotic for 5 days. Unless you are skilled at this procedure or have some pretty good luck, prognosis is grim.


Retained Afterbirth
1371


Your darling Suzie Q has delivered nice healthy babies. You are real proud of yourself because you followed the instructions here at goatwisdom and reached in there and pulled one of them out. And then you sit with her waiting for something to happen to this big ugly purplish thing that is hanging out of her rear end. Every time she turns around she swats one of the babies in the head with it. And you wait. And you wait. You heard somewhere that you're not supposed to grab it and pull it out. You go in and have dinner and when you come out, it's still hanging there.
You start getting tired and finally go to bed for a short nervous night's sleep. You go back out the next morning and, oh my gosh, it's still there. But now it has begun to stink. Oh, now what? You start calling vets asking what to do. They all tell you to leave it alone. And now poor Suzie Q is a stinking, disgusting mess. "This just can't go on like this," you say.

Some preliminary comments:

There is no one definite cause for a "retained" afterbirth. It commonly follows a premature delivery, a long labor or difficult birth, certain nutritional deficiencies or a uterine infection. But it also happens totally unexpectedly. Sometimes you will think that the doe has eaten it (a separate subject), only to find later that she has not passed it. Usually, if there is a retained afterbirth it is partially inside and partially outside, with the outside part about even with the ground.

The established protocol

You probably have a vision of the trusty old vet with his arm in a big old cow spending several hours releasing a retained afterbirth. Almost all textbooks now recommend that you should leave it alone and treat it with systemic antibiotics (tetracyclines such as LA200®). Traditional manual removal is no longer popular. Therefore, we will say that manual removal is NOT recommended.

You didn't hear it here...

If 12 hours have passed, then you can probably assume that she will not pass it on her own. If you decide that you are going to remove it, NOW is this time to get on with it. After this, it is very difficult to get your hand through the constricted cervix to do any work. To me, it just makes no sense to allow her to drag this thing around with her for several days.

There are two kinds of problems to deal with. One is failure to release the cotyledon (buttons) from the uterine wall. The other is blood vessels and membranes that fail to break loose. (None of this description will be technically accurate!)

If the cotyledons are still attached the afterbirth will not be just floating loose in the uterus. They must be "unbuttoned" one by one. This is done in much the same manner as you button a jacket, except that it is done with only one hand, in a place that you cannot see and with an animal abjecting in various ways. Utmost gentleness is required. The longer it has been since the completion of delivery the harder it will be to get you hand inside. Do it very slowly and with lots of lubricant. She will object strenuously and push against you all the way. Once you have all the buttons released you should be able to gently ease the placenta out through the cervix. If you feel any resistance, stop right away and re-evaluate the situation. NEVER pull on the afterbirth. As it comes out, gravity should be enough force to do the work. Always do this with the doe standing so that you can feel the pull of gravity.

The second problem is one that I have only experienced in goats and I do not know the technical terminology for the details. In this situation, the major part of the afterbirth will be dragging around behind with a taught string-like thing being the only thing attaching it all to the doe. By reaching FAR forward on the lower part of the uterus you will find a point of attachment to the uterine wall. If the cervix is still well dilated and if the vessel is about the size of your little finger, leave her alone for 4 - 6 more hours. Then, if it hasn't broken free, reach to the forward point of attachment, come back toward you a couple of inches, place the cord between your thumb nail and middle finger. By sliding the thumb nail back and forth you will be sawing through the cord. When completed, the afterbirth will be free and can easily be removed the rest of the way.

After either or both of the above, immediately use a pipette to insert a half tube of Nolvasan® or similar product and give pen G or LA200® for 4 - 5 days. You will want to give the doe lots of "TLC" and it would be good to take her temperature daily.

"Plan B"...

The following suggestion was sent to me by a reader who got the tip from her vet. I have not tried it, but it is supposedly an old farmer's trick that I was unaware of. He recommended that you tie a five pound weight to the hanging afterbirth and let the doe drag it around behind her. This may eventually help things along.

Please remember that the above procedures are not a substitute for consultation by a licensed veterinarian.


Laceration of Birth Canal
1376


During a difficult delivery there will sometimes be damage to the tender tissues lining the birth canal. In the excitement of getting the kids out, you may not notice that damage has been done. It is a good idea to make a quick check of things after each delivery. Any tears over &fract14; inch should probably be sutured. There is a significant danger of infection in any open areas and vigorous treatment with local antibiotics should begin right away. Nolvasan® is a good choice for internal injuries. NTZ® eye puffers are good because the powder tends to have a drying action. On external sufaces, iodine can be applied frequently. You may observe some bruising and there is little you can do about it. It is important to keep these areas clean in the face of uterine discharges and fecal contamination.

Metritis and Pyometra
1381


The terms metritis and pyometra are often used interchangeably. Metritis means an inflammation of the uterus. Pyometra refers to pus being retained in the uterus. For our purposes here we will use the single term metritis, and by it mean any uterine infection.
There are any number of organisms that can cause an infection of the uterus. Likewise, these infections can, in turn, compromise the uterus and lead to incidents of infertility and fetal death. Since the treatments available to treat these infections are quite limited in number, it may not be practical to worry about the identity of the specific germs by means of laboratory testing.

Incidents of uterine infection usually are first noticed a week or two after delivery. It is more common in those cases where there has been an assisted delivery, particularly if this has been a difficult event. Because of this, it behooves us to remember to practise extreme cleanliness whenever we assist in a delivery.

The first sign is usually a foul smelling vaginal discharge. This is different from the normal fluids that come out after delivery, which will not contain pus. This will frequently be accompanied by fever, lethargy, a drop in milk production and lack of appetite. Therefore, as in every post partem disorder, it is extremely important to do everything you can to keep the doe eating well. All others remedies are more apt to fail if she goes off her feed. You may also notice that the milk has an "off" flavor (kind of sour).

Treatment consists of antibiotic injections (broad spectrum such as penicillin or oxytetracycline) and local infusions. The uterus should be thoroughly lavaged (washed out) with a sterile solution, such as: one part peroxide and 10 parts sterile saline. This can best be administered via a pipette (like they use for articial insemination in cattle) carefully inserted through the cervix. (This may take a little practice!) A small catheter will also work. It is best to have the doe standing on a sloped surface with the rear end elevated. Take your time and wait for the liquid to drain out. Most of the old-fashioned remedies are no longer considered safe to insert into the uterus. We use Nolvasan® uterine suspensionfor this purpose. Since the tube contains sufficient amount to treat a cow, a goat would probably only need a half tube.

If the above treatment is not successful, you can repeat the procedure. In some cases, it is necessary to add hormone injections to the regimen and to do this you must consult with your veterinarian. An infection that has been ignored for some time is also more resistant to treatment. NEVER breed a doe where there is any suspicion of a current or recent infection.





Univ of Minnesota   [Pregnancy toxemia]
Univ of Minnesota   [Prolapse]

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mikey
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« Reply #46 on: April 18, 2008, 08:22:37 AM »

Feet
2001



Trimming Hooves


Before you start trimming feet, be sure to wrap your thumb with black electrical tape. This will reduce your chances of injury to yourself.
If you start giving attention to the feet when the little kids are born it will more than pay off in labor saved at a later date. The first trimming can occur as young as two weeks. At that time, with a very sharp knife trim off any loose edges, particularly on the inner surfaces. Check for any overgrowth at the back part and sides. Some congenital deformities can be overcome by early correction of the general shape of the foot. Watch for any little pockets that might trap dirt or manure and get them opened up right away.

 After the first trimming, all the goats can be scheduled for a monthly trimming. This is how a healthy foot will look a month after trimming, when ready for another trim. Regularly trim off the outside hard part and heel. I have always done this with a pocket knife, but others prefer shears, nippers or a variety of tools. Carefully clean any mud or dirt from between the back parts and look for areas of rot, inflammation or infection. These can be treated with bleach or extra strenth iodine. Some people use Kopertox® on serious problems, but that product is not approved for use on goats. About every three months or as needed, take a small amount off the dew claws to keep them nicely shaped.



The following drawing shows the angles of a properly trimmed hoof, done so that there is not undue tension on the tendons (thanks Anne!).
 

Foot ailments


FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE:
This viral disease is very rare in modern goats and characterized by sores in the mouth AND at the coronary bands (where the sides of the hooves meet the skin) and occasionally in the interdigital spaces. There will be a high fever, stringy salivation, smacking of the lips, lameness and decreased appetite. Pregnant does may abort. There are a couple of other diseases that resemble foot and mouth disease, so diagnosis may be difficult. Whenever you find sores in both locations, the mouth and the feet, you should check with your vet because if the diagnosis is conformed this ailment should not be treated; the animal should be eliminated at once since the disease is very contagious.

FOOT ABSCESSES:

Unlike other foot problems, foot abscess are distinguished by the ability to sqeeze pus out of the area. There will be severe lameness. The area above the hoof may be hot, swollen and painful. It is usually a sequel to untreated foot rot. Treatment consists of penicillin injections for five days and drainage of the affected area. The pus should be squeezed out if possible.

INTERDIGITAL DERMATITIS:

This is a severe inflammation of the skin between the back parts of the hooves. It is caused by wet weather, namely, mud particles grinding between the two surfaces. If caught early, the skin will be red and slightly swollen. If more serious, the tissue will become necrotic (dead, rotten). Generally, there will only be an odor of infection, not a sour odor as with foot rot. Treatment takes a long time, especially if the animal cannot be moved to drier ground. Carefully, clean the area as best you can. Bleach is quite effective in cleaning and it also helps to kill some of the infectious organisms. Dry the area and then apply iodine. This treatment really needs to be performed every day if you cannot avoid a muddy environment. We recently had an episode of this which responded only to DAILY dipping in a 50% bleach solution. It oftentimes seems to cure itself if the weather improves and the ground is dry.


FOOT ROT:

Contagious foot rot can be a severe problem in any hoofed animals, especially where rainy conditions dominate the winter weather. It does not appear to be as contagious in goats as it is in sheep. Furthermore, the goat owner is more apt to conduct a periodic check of the feet. Prevention is certainly a better course of action than cure. If feet are trimmed on a monthly basis, severe foot rot cannot take hold in overgrown hooves.

Usually, foot rot will appear as a slight lameness. Closer examination will reveal a separation between the horn and the soft tissues of the foot. This pocket will be filled with a dark gray to black greasy substance which has a characteristic foul odor. There is little or no pus and no swelling.

Unless you have a serious herd-wide problem, each animal can be treated individually. A program of foot bath treatments should be done in consultation with your vet or extension agent. Because of the curiosity of goats, especially little ones, these should be supervised very carefully. We live in a very wet area of the Northwest and have seen tiny pockets of genuine foot rot in animals as young as one week. In short, treatment consists of removing the affected area. The necrotic tissue underneath the black stuff must be exposed to the air in order for healing to begin. At times this may consist of some pretty serious cutting. Some bleeding will occur so be sure to have some blood stopping preparation on hand for emergencies. (Hydrogen peroxide will reduce minor bleeding.) If it looks like an extreme amount of trimming will be needed to get betneath all the dead tissue, it is helpful to divide this into two or three sessions. The blood vessels will seem to draw back so that you can trim a little deeper each time without so much bleeding. If you have severe foot rot and don't draw a little blood in cleaning it up, you probably haven't cut deep enough. For extremely serious cases where there is deep involvement of the flesh, a dehorning iron or heated welding rod can be used to cauterize the wound, which then can be filled with an antiseptic powder.

Try to keep the area as dry as possible. Apply bleach, iodine or Kopertox® as appropriate. If severe, penicillin shots can be given. Spreading hydrated lime (the kind people used to put in out-houses, not the kind you spread on pastures) on the ground seems to help reduce the spread between animals.


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mikey
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« Reply #47 on: April 19, 2008, 09:54:15 AM »

External parasites
4500



Be sure to see WARNINGS at the bottom of the page!


External Parasites
Name Symptoms Treatment
Lice (Pediculosis) [4511] On surface, eggs easy to see on pieces of hair (low-power microscope); itching, irritation, rubbing, biting, rough coat, skin may be scaly, hair loss, lowered milk production, mostly in winter Malathion or methoxychlor on non-milking animals, 2 treatments 2 weeks apart; if stronger (Ivermectin, fenthion) remedies, watch for host-parasite reaction; spray or dust in late fall to prevent
Mange [4531] Mites burrow in skin, chorioptic type most common in goats (hind legs, scrotum, toes, brisket)  Lime sulphur six times at 7 - 10 da intervals or Ivermectin pour-on.
Ticks [4601] Fairly easily identified, can get in ears of goats, may cause small sores that later contain secondary bacteria, transmit diseases to animals and man, rubbing, scratching, itching, biting Change patures, if in ears remove with wire loop; try methoxychlor, most remedies outlawed.
Flies [4615] Not usually a serious problem with goats Non-toxic fly strips are safest bet around milking goats; some powders are labeled safe for milking animals 
Maggots, screwworms [4621] Rapidly spreading, wiggling, mass of fly larvae usually in moist areas or wounds or where soiled by diarrhea. Loss of condition. Screwworms: now rare in US, overlap like shingles. Always use insect repellents on serious injuries during fly season. If maggots are present, scrub area, use ronnel or lindane¹ as directed, but be sure NOT to keep milk.
Fleas [4761] Those little jumping things you see on your dog and cat. In theory, should not appear on goats since they are supposed to be host specific to dogs, cats, etc. More likely, you are seeing a form of goat lice. Irregardless, we did have them on goats once. Use Sevin®.
Mosquitoes Rarely bother goats, but if so can be very annoying. Clean up breeding sources. Use Mosquito Dunks® to kill larvae. Apply Bounce® fabric softener or Neet®

1 Do not use Lindane on young animals.

Warnings

These are rough guidlines only, always read labels carefully and consult your vet if in doubt.
Never use any insecticide on any animal less than three months of age. The only exception to this is malathion which can be used very sparingly on those that are at least one month old.

Carbaryl (Sevin®): not more often than every 4 days.

Lindane: not recommended for lactating dairy animals. Do not use over 0.03% strength on any young animals.

Ronnel: not less than 2 weeks apart.

Malathion: never use on animals less than one month old.

Lime sulphur: if local irritation appears, bathe thoroughly with water but do NOT scrub with a brush

Final comment: Except for lice, goats are fairly free of external parasites in comparison with other animals. Since all insecticides are toxic to some degree, be sure that the remedy which you choose, either one of those listed above or some other product advocated by someone else, is not going to be of a greater risk to the animal than the parasite which you are supposedly fighting. Some of the newer preparations are extremely effective and also extremely toxic and can have very dangerous side effects.

Cornell Univ
Maryland Small Ruminant

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mikey
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« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2008, 12:39:04 PM »

Abortion Causes in the Goat
Abortion diseases:

An infection traveling through the maternal blood stream and making its way to the fetus (from the maternal blood stream). The most important of these (the "Big Three") are: Campylobacter (vibrio), Chlymdia and Toxoplasmosis.

The most distinguishing symptoms of each disease are highlighted in Red

CAMPYLOBACTER FETUS

aka: Vibrio, vibrionic abortion

SYMPTOMS

ESTRUS CYCLES LONG AND IRREGULAR
INFERTILITY (STERILITY)
ABORTION at 4 - 6 weeks before due
BABIES - WEAK OR STILLBORN
FETUS - BODILY CAVITIES FILLED WITH REDDISH FLUID

DIARRHEA (DOE)
RETAINED AFTERBIRTH
METRITIS (UTERINE INFECTION), PYOMETRA (PUS)

VAGINAL DISCHARGE
VULVA-VAGINITIS, PUSTULES, NODULES


This is a fairly common form of abortion in goats, but not so much as in sheep. The abortion will occur a little earlier than in Chlamydia. It is also to be suspected if there is difficulty in getting the doe to "settle" or conceive. Numerous attempts at breeding may be noticed. It is frequently accompanied by vulva-vaginitis and this may help to distinguish it from the breeding difficulties caused by an ovarian cyst (but, there are exceptions). It is about the only reproductive disease that may be accompanied by diarrhea.
Treatment consists of isolation of does which abort, antibiotics (but many strains are resistant) and vaccination of unaffected does. Aborting does develop an immunity which may be of rather short duration and it is generally recommended that an outbreak be followed up with routine vaccination. A preparation for sheep can be obtained without a prescription from most suppliers; from your veterinarian you may be able to obtain it in combination with Chlamydia psittaci. It would be our recommendation that laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis and discussion with your vet precede the use of either of these vaccines. Goats are not routinely vaccinated against these diseases unless there is a specific reason to do so.

CHLAMYDIAL ABORTION

aka: Enzootic abortion, kebbing abortion

SYMPTOMS

ABORTION, SOMETIMES FOLLOWED BY DEATH OF DOE
PREMATURE DELIVERY [21 days early]
MOTHER GOES OFF FEED
AFTERBIRTH COMMONLY RETAINED
COTYLEDONS NECROTIC [Dead, brownish]

BABIES WEAK OR STILLBORN
FETUS CLAY-COLORED, MUMMIFIED, WITH DISTENDED ABDOMEN

ASSOCIATED WITH TICKS, RODENTS OR BIRDS


This disease is one of the most common causes of abortion in goats. It is the one with the classic tendency to present you with dead or extremely weak babies almost exactly three weeks ahead of the scheduled due date. Anomalies of the cotyledons ("leathery" or necrotic [dead, rotten, brownish] with thickened spaces between) and fetus (mummified or covered with "clay" colored flaky material; enlarged lymph nodes) are characteristic. If the dead fetus is carried inside the doe for a length of time, there is an increased chance that the mother will die.
It is commonly transmitted by ticks, rodents and birds rather than sexual contact, but its incidence seems to increase when new members are brought into the herd. It must always be considered when you have an abortion epidemic. Treatment consists of segregating all aborting does and using LA200® (or other tetracycline) on ALL does and surviving kids. The good news is that those who abort will usually breed successfully the following year and deliver with no difficulty. However, if they are infected very late in pregnancy they may deliver normally this time and then abort next year.

There is a vaccine, available from your vet or Pipestone, which may be helpful. If you or others in your area have an outbreak, vaccination should certainly be considered. Some have found it very beneficial and for others the results have been somewhat disappointing. Most sources suggest that exposed does receive LA200® 2 weeks apart at mid-gestation. Consideration should also be given to the elimination of ticks, rodents and birds.

TOXOPLASMOSIS

SYMPTOMS


ABORTION AND PREMATURE DELIVERY
BABIES WEAK OR DEAD
ANOREXIA (LOSS OF APPETITE)
ATAXIA (INCOORDINATION) / PARALYSIS
CACHEXIA (WEAKNESS)
DEPRESSED AND/OR EXCITABILITY
DYSPNEA (SHORTNESS OF BREATH) AND COUGH
ENCEPHALITIS (BRAIN INFLAMMATION) AND C N S DYSFUNCTION
GASTROENTERITIS
ICTERUS (JAUNDICE)
TEMPERATURE - ABOVE NORMAL (NOT ALWAYS)
TREMBLES / TREMORS / MUSCLE CONTRACTIONS
WEIGHT LOSS

COTYLEDONS - WHITE SPOTS

CATS AND/OR RODENTS TRANSMIT


Toxoplasmosis is one of the most fascinating diseases that a livestock producer will ever encounter. It can lead to a delivery season which turns into a living nightmare as you watch one doe after another deliver weak and dead babies. Typically, if a doe has three kids, one will be stillborn, one will be small and very weak (and may or may not survive heroic attempts at rescue) and one will appear fairly normal. The disease is caused by a protozoa which lives in the blood which goes through several stages, at least one of which will usually be in the family cat which frequents the barn and uses the feed storage area for a bathroom. Getting rid of the disease in your goats may require the euthanasia of your favorite cat.
[In adult cats there may be no symptoms; if any there will be disturbances of the central nervous system. In kittens, there will be generalize acute illness with fever, respiratory signs, diarrhea and nervous signs.]

Another tragically interesting aspect is the wide variety of symptoms which can be exhibited by the doe. Some will appear perfectly healthy while others will be critically ill. Disturbances of the central nervous system (CNS) are the most typical. The doe may appear in coordinated or show paralysis which makes you think that perhaps she has suffered a stroke. She will commonly refuse to eat and develop severe digestive discomfort. She then may become more susceptible to other infections, such as worms or liver flukes.

Treatment is of limited value. However, it is our recommendation that you perform blood testing on all the adults in the herd. This may be fairly expensive, but at least you will be able to make critical decisions on the basis of factual data. Also, any cats which have access to the area should also be tested. The blood work will provide you with blood antibody levels, known as "titers." A zero reading indicates that the animal has probably not been exposed to the disease. Any titer level above 60 indicates a probable active disease state. Readings in the low range would be indicative of exposure with immunity possibly sufficient to prevent the disease. Of course, you should work in close conjunction with your vet in interpreting the results and also compare them with what you know about the fate of the offspring of the tested does. You would expect highest levels in those which had the worst reproductive results. The fetus and placenta can also be examined for active toxoplasmosis; cool (but do not freeze) them and transport to your vet for shipment to the diagnostic lab.

WARNING! This disease is transmissible to human handlers and can lead to abortion in pregnant females. If any members of your family are pregnant or could become pregnant and have been or may be exposed to toxoplasmosis, they should consult with their health care provider immediately. Additionally, unborn (human) babies can develop brain damage if the pregnant mother consumes undercooked or raw meat from an animal infected with toxoplasmosis. In fact, there is new evidence that more human cases result from the eating of contaminated meat than from cat feces. If you are unsure of the cause of any abortion in a farm animal and are pregnant, you should consult your veterinarian AND your doctor to see if testing is in order. It is possible to contract the disease from handling an infected fetus or placenta, from the feces of infected cats or rodents. The disease can also be transmitted to non-pregnant family members of either sex and we are definitely not qualified to discuss that situation; you should seek the advice of your doctor if exposed or feel that you have symptoms that may be related to the disease. In short, this is not a situation to be taken lightly.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of toxoplasmosis is that it eventually just goes away. It is debatable whether treatment measures have any role in creating this scenario. This means that if you get rid of the offending cats and if Suzie Q survives the ordeal, she will probably return to full reproductive vigor.

Comments from personal experience: We experienced a toxoplasmosis epidemic in our herd a few years ago. The results were disastrous; a majority of the babies were born dead or extremely weak. We had the does all tested and they showed a wide range of antibody levels with some way above the "disease" level. The buck tested positive as well. My antibody level was below the disease level but indicative of significant exposure. We instituted a rigorous program of treatment which I can provide upon request. But there is no way of knowing it's actual benefits since there are many cases of complete recovery without treatment.

SALMONELLOSIS

SYMPTOMS


ABORTION UP TO 6 WEEK BEFORE TERM
DIARRHEA
TENESMUS (PULSATING ANUS)/ NERVOUS
TEMPERATURE - 105 AND ABOVE OR VARIABLE AND INTERMITTENT
WEIGHT LOSS
ANOREXIA, LIGHT
DEHYDRATION
DEPRESSED


Although Salmonella is usually thought of as a leading cause of diarrhea, certain forms of the organism can also lead to abortion. It can easily be spread by new animals brought onto the premises or from babies with diarrhea being in contact with pregnant adults. It can also be brought in by rodents and birds. From the symptoms above, it is obvious that the doe may show signs of serious illness, which may even result in death.
Treatment begins with isolation of any animals which show signs of the disease. Tetracyclines (LA200®) or sulfa drugs are of limited benefit. Survivors should breed successfully in subsequent years but as carriers they can infect newcomers to the herd, which will abort. Isolation and prompt treatment of babies with diarrhea which may be of the Salmonella type will go a long way in preventing this type of reproductive disease. Crowding and poor sanitation, especially of the babies, greatly increases the chances of a Salmonella infection.

ASPERGILLOSIS

SYMPTOMS


ABORTION
LABORED BREATHING
FETUS - GRAYISH-RED AREAS THAT RESEMBLE RINGWORM
COTYLEDONS - THICK, NECROTIC WITH YELLOW, CHEESY PLAQUES


Aspergillosis is a fungal infection that is usually associated with respiratory problems, especially in man. However, in rare instances this and other fungal organisms can cause abortions which are fairly hard to diagnose. The ringworm-like lesions on the fetus and/or afterbirth may be the only noticeable symptom. The only effective remedies can be obtained only from your veterinarian.
The best prevention is to keep goats in areas that have not previously housed poultry.

TRICHMONIASIS

1336


ABORTION
ESTRUS CYCLES LONG AND IRREGULAR WITH FAILURE TO CONCEIVE
UTERINE INFECTION WITH PYOMETRA (DISCHARGE)

Most typically a vaginal discharge at breeding will be the only sign. This is basically a disease of cattle. I can't recall ever hearing of a case in goats.
Q-FEVER

1331


Coxiella burnetti, a Rickettseal infection

SYMPTOMS

ABORTION
PNEUMONIA
EYE INFECTIONS

Fairly rare disease which can affect all species of livestock and man. In fact, people can become carriers and pass the disease to farm animals. Anyone with flu-like symptoms on a farm where Q-fever caused abortions are present should see their physician. Organisms probably transmitted in milk (less often via feces, afterbirth or meat). Diagnosis is quite difficult and treatment with tetracyclines may be unsuccessful.
BRUCELLOSIS (BANG'S DISEASE)

SYMPTOMS


INFERTILITY
ABORTION IN 4th MONTH WITH PROLONGED VAGINAL DISCHARGE    AFTERWARDS
STILLBIRTH OR WEAK BABIES
RETAINED PLACENTA
MILK PRODUCTION FALLS
KERATITIS (INFLAMMATION OF CORNEA OF EYE); CONJUNCTIVITIS
BRONCHITIS
ARTHRITIS


Brucellosis is a "species specific" disease that can affect cattle, sheep and goats. It is of historical significance in being readily transmitted to people where it is known as "undulant fever" or "Malta fever" and was very common a century ago. Since then, rigid eradication programs have been very effective in nearly eliminating the disease from modern cattle. Brucella abortus in cattle, B. melitensis in goats and B. ovis in sheep are three very different diseases. It is quite rare in goats, where it is known as "Malta fever". Although the symptom is more common in rams, the organism can lead to orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) or epididymitis in billy goats. However, there may be no other symptoms except abortions.
Treatment consists of isolating the animal at once and discussing the situation with a qualified large animal vet. Culling may be the best option.

CAUTION:There have recently been a few cases of Brucella melitensis in Starr County, Texas. Goat raisers in that area can contact the Texas Animal Health Commission (or the USDA) for free testing to see if their animals may be carrying the disease and for other steps to take to assure the safety of their herd and handlers.

Vaccination Those interested in a new genetically engineered vaccine for Brucella melitensis for goats and humans can contact Brucellosis Research, NADC, P> O> Box 70, Ames IA 50010.

LEPTOSPIROSIS

SYMPTOMS

ABORTION
ANEMIA ANOREXIA, LIGHT (OFF FEED) PROSTRATION DYSPNEA (SHORTNESS OF BREATH) TEMPERATURE - 105 AND ABOVE HEMOGLOBINURIA (BLOODY OR CLEAR RED URINE)
ICTERUS (JAUNDICE) MILK PRODUCTION FALLS MILK - THICK, GRAY OR YELLOW, BLOODY WITH NO CHANGE IN UDDER

Leptospirosis is a very important disease in cattle; nearly all producers regularly vaccinate against it. It is less common in goats, but probably has not received the attention which it deserves. Some goat people have now included Leptospirosis in their vaccination routine. It can cause a generalized illness with bloody urine and abortions being the most notable signs.
Treatment is unsuccessful; vaccines are available and should be considered if the disease is found in the area. There is considerable evidence that it can be transmitted by wildlife (in addition to rodents), possibly deer. It can be transmitted to dogs and man.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
general infections where abortion can be a symptom
ANTHRAX


WOUNDS, ILLNESS FOLLOWS
MOSTLY LATE SUMMER TO FALL
EDEMA
CARDIOVASCULAR IRREGULARITIES
LABORED BREATHING
COLLAPSE
MUSCLE CONTRACTIONS, TREMBLING, STAGGERING
EXCITED, IRRITABLE FOLLOWED BY DEPRESSION
TEMPERATURE, 105 AND ABOVE
ABCESS, TONGUE
THROAT, SWELLING and LESIONS
RUMEN STASIS AND BLOAT
ABORTION
MILK PRODUCTION FALLS

SUDDEN DEATH
BLOOD, DARK , THICK, FAILS TO CLOT
BODILY OPENINGS, BLOODY DISCHARGE
RIGOR MORTIS ABSENT


Because of the rapid course of this disease, diagnosis almost always involves the observation of a dead animal. The characteristic finding is a bloated carcass with dark blood oozing from bodily opening and the lack of rigor mortis. (This is different from the small amount of normal-colored blood that many animals emit from the nostrils at death.) "Sub acute" cases may abort, but this will be accompanied by other symptoms which make it clear that the animal is extremely ill (high fever, refuses to eat, hemorrhages inside mouth, slobbering, weakness). In goats, there may be trembling, difficult breathing, and convulsions followed by death.
Whenever anthrax is suspected, one should not touch the carcass. Man is very susceptible to the disease. Your vet and/or local livestock authorities should be contacted as per local laws. Treatment should not be attempted.



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« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2008, 12:42:54 PM »

CONTAGIOUS CAPRINE PLEUROPNEUMONIA


Mycoplasma

ABORTION
MYCOPLASMAL MASTITIS
ARCHED BACK
HEAD EXTENDED, LOWERED

COUGH
LABORED BREATHING
PNEUMONIA IN ONE LUNG ONLY
NOSTRILS, WATERY BILATERAL DISCHARGE

TEMPERATURE ABOVE NORMAL
WINTER


Mycoplasmal abortions can be the result of the same or related organisms which cause a terrible type of mastitis (and sick babies) referred to in the section on Udder Care. The distinguishing feature of Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia will be obvious respiratory distress and fever. The only successful treatment is isolation and tylosin (Tylan®); but there will be many losses.
LISTERIOSIS


"Circling Disease"

SYMPTOMS

ABORTION
C N S DYSFUNCTION
AIMLESS WALKING
CIRCLING
ATAXIA (INCOORDINATION)
LEAN AGAINST OBJECTS
BLINDNESS

ANOREXIA
SOLITUTDE - SEEKS
DEPRESSED

SALIVA - STRINGY
DYSPLAGIA (CAN'T SWALLOW )
THROAT AND JAW PARALYSIS
FACE - TWITCHING, TREMORS, PARALYSIS
EARS DROOP / ENCEPHALITIS (BRAIN INFLAMMATION)

STRABISMUS (SQUINTING)
CONJUNCTIVITIS

TEMPERATURE - 105 AND ABOVE
RODENTS


"Circling disease," while more common in cattle can be a problem for many types of livestock. The most easily seen signs will those of encephalitis of the neurons on one side, which causes the animal to walk off-course to the right or left, hence the name "circling disease." If the organisms invade the uterus, abortions and stillbirths are likely (with none of the usual pre-delivery signs). It reportedly responds to early treatment with high doses of penicillin. The disease can be transmitted to human, especially when handling aborted fetuses.
MUCORMYCOSIS

SYMPTOMS


ABORTION WITH PLACENTITIS
DIARRHEA
LABORED BREATHING
LESIONS OF BODY SURFACES, LYMPH NODES, GI TRACT

This is a fungal disease for which there is no known treatment.
NOCARDIOSIS

SYMPTOMS


DROOLING (EXCESS WATERY SALIVATION)
LACRIMATION (TEARS)
TEMPERATURE - ABOVE NORMAL
ABORTION
UDDER - FIRM AND SWOLLEN, POSSIBLE WITH FISTULAS OR SINUSES
NODULES - WHITE EXUDATE WITH SMALL WHITE LUMPS
LYMPH NODES ENLARGED


Nocardiosis is primarily known as a very dangerous type of mastitis which can cause rapid loss of condition. It can lead to a systemic illness with high fever, lack of appetite and frequently fatal results. It may spread to the lungs and lymph nodes, which will contain pus. Abortion may occur if the disease occurs during pregnancy.
Prognosis is guarded. Novobiocin infusions, lancing and treating of abscesses, and systemic penicillin may be of value>

B V D


Bovine virus diarrhea
SYMPTOMS

ABORTION AND WEAK BABIES
ANOREXIA
DIARRHEA WITH TENESMUS (STRAINING)
FECES, BLOODY, MUCOUS IN, FOUL SMELLING
RUMEN STASIS
BLOAT
DEHYDRATION

EYES, OPACITY (CLOUDINESS,CATARACTS), CONJUNCTIVITIS, CORNEAL ULCER
NOSTRILS CRUSTY
MOUTH - INFLAMMATION
TONGUE, SLIPPERY, EXFOLIATE

INTERDIGITAL LESIONS
LAMENESS

DEPRESSED
PULSE AND RESPIRATION RAPID
TEMPERATURE 104 - 106, THEN NORMAL OR BELOW


What is a cattle disease doing here? Two reasons: some may also want to refer to this section in dealing with cattle or other species and BVD is important in demonstrating the wide range of symptoms that a single virus can cause. I'm sure there are any number of as-yet undiscovered viruses out there that could cause problems (including abortion) in goats. Because there is as yet no treatment for a viral infection, one can only alleviate symptoms, prevent secondary infections (possibly with antibiotics) and prevent the spread of the disease through such measures as isolation. Therefore, the lesson to be learned is important: to look at the totality of any group of symptoms and not simply concentrate on the abortion as the only issue.
I B R / I P V

Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis / Infectious pustular vulvovaginitis [herpesvirus]

SYMPTOMS
ABORTION, STILLBIRTH, WEAK BABIES
ANOREXIA
WEIGHT LOSS
DEPRESSED
DIARRHEA

TEMPERATURE - 105 AND ABOVE

DYSPNEA (SHORTNESS OF BREATH)
RESPIRATION - RAPID

LESIONS - MOUTH (ULCERS, GENERAL)
NOSTRILS - CRUSTY WITH WATERY OR BLOODY DISCHARGE
DROOLING, EXCESS WATERY SALIVATION

VULVA-VAGINITIS - PUSTULES, NODULES, SWOLLEN, EXUDATE
TAIL HELD UP


This viral disease of cattle is here for the same reasons as BVD, and it can cause an even more widespread list of symptoms.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deficiencies of various items can also cause abortions. For these we will list only the symptoms and suggest that you look at these topics in other sections where available.
CALORIC DEFICIENCY

APPETITE, NORMAL
BABIES WEAK
CONDITION, LOSS OF
GROWTH RETARDED
INFERTILITY
MILK PRODUCTION FALLS
PUBERTY DELAYED
STILLBIRTH
WEIGHT LOSS

GENERAL NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES:
ANOREXIA, LIGHT
INFERTILITY

HYPOPROGESTERONISM

ABORTION
ESTRUS CYCLES SHORT AND IRREGULAR

IODINE DEFICIENCY
ABORTION
ALOPECIA
BABIES, WEAK
GOITER (In mother and/or baby)
INFERTILITY
STILLBIRTH
THROAT SWELLING
THYROID ENLARGED

MANGANESE DEFICIENCY:
ABORTION
ANESTRUS
BABIES, BLIND
BABIES, DEFORMED
ESTRUS CYCLES - LONG AND IRREGULAR
GROWTH RETARDED
HEAL, FAIL TO
HEAT, SILENT
INFERTILTIY
JOINT, ENLARGED
LAMENESS
OBESITY

PROTEIN DEFICIENCY:
ANEMIA
ANOREXIA, LIGHT
BABIES - WEAK
CACHEXIA (WEAKNESS)
CONDITION - LOSS OF
ESTRUS CYCLES - LONG AND IRREGULAR
GROWTH RETARDED
INFERTILITY
MILK PRODUCTION FALLS
PLACENTA RETAINED
STILLBIRTH
WEIGHT LOSS
VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY: ABORTION
ATAXIA
BABIES - WEAK
BLINDNESS, NIGHT
BRISKET EDEMA
CATARACT
CONVULSIONS WITHOUT PADDLING
CORNEAL ULCER
COUGH
DIARRHEA
HEAD HELD TO ONE SIDE
INFERTILITY
LABORED BREATHING
LACRIMATION
NOSTRILS - WATERY BILATRAL DISCHARGE OPACITY
PLACENTA _ RETAINED
SKIN - BROWN, GREASY EXUDATE
STAGGERING
STILLBIRTH
WEIGHT LOSS

WHITE MUSCLE DISEASE:
ARCHED BACK
BABIES WEAK
DIARRHEA
DYSPNEA
FEET - TOES SPLAYING
GROWTH RETARDED
NURSING STOPS, WON'T SUCKLE
PROSTRATION
STIFF
STILLBIRTH
SUDDEN DEATH


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Poisoning as a result of ingestion of chemicals. The exact signs as they relate to abortion or damage to the fetus are highly dependent on the specific time in the gestation process when the event takes place.
NITRATE / NITRITE POISONING:

ABORTION
ATAXIA
BLOOD - BROWN (CHOCOLATE)
BREATH SMELLS OF KETONES
BREATHS THROUGH MOUTH
CACHEXIA (WEAKNESS)
CONVULSIONS WITHOUT PADDLING
CYANOSIS (BLUE SKIN AND LIPS)
DYSPNEA
HYPERESTHESIA
LABORED BREATHING
LUNG SOUNDS - CRACKLING, SPLASHING
NERVOUS
PULSE - RAPID
TEMPERATURE - SUBNORMAL

SELENIUM POISONING
ALOPECIA (HAIR LOSS)
ANOREXIA
ATAXIA (INCOORDINATION)
BABIES - BLIND
BABIES - DEFORMED
BABIES - WEAK
BLINDNESS
CACHEXIA (WEAKNESS)
CORONA - HOOFS CRACK AT
DEPRESSED
FORE LIMBS WEAK
HOOFS - ABNORMAL GROWTH, DISTORTED
HOOFS - CRACKED
LABORED BREATHING
LAMENESS
NOSTRILS - FROTHY DISCHARGE
PUPILS DILATED
RUN INTO OBJECTS
STAGGERING
STIFF
STILLBIRTH
TEMPERATURE - NORMAL, THEN SUBNORMAL
TONGUE PARALYSIS
WEIGHT LOSS

SWEET CLOVER POISONING
ANEMIA
BABIES WEAK
BLOOD - FAILS TO CLOT; FECES BLOODY (NOT NECESSARILY DIARRHEA)
LAMENESS
NOSEBLEEDS
STIFF
STILLBIRTH

WESTERN YELLOW PINE
ABORTION

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Miscellaneous causes of abortion
C N S CONGENITAL ANOMILES

AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR
CONVULSIONS WITHOUT PADDLING
HIND LIMBS WEAK
MUSCLES ATROPHY PROTOPORPHYRIA
RECUMBANCY
RELUCTANT TO MOVE
STIFF
STILLBIRTH
UREMIA
WEAVING

MYOPATHIES, GENERAL
BABIES WEAK
STILLBIRTH

MYODYSPLASIA
BABIES WEAK
GROWTH RETARDED

RIFT VALLEY FEVER
ABORTION
CACHEXIA (WEAKNESS)
DEPRESSED
DIARRHEA
STAGGERING
TEMPERATURE ABOVE NORMAL

OTHERS:

Poor feeding, malnutrition
Crowding
Trauma, injury
Fatigue
Shock
Drugs, chemicals, poisons
Overdose of iodine
Ticks (tick fever, paralysis)
 
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 June 2008 ) 
 
 
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« Reply #50 on: January 20, 2009, 08:29:18 AM »

Over Crowding:
This is from personal experience:goats do poorly when stressed in confinded spaces,goats need approx, 20 square feet each.I prefer 25 square feet each and in their own pen,our pens are 5x5 each ,25 square feet each pen.crowded goats will stop eating if the inside temperature reaches 30c in the barn.Remember a goat will eat at night if you leave a light on for them,they can eat a fair amount through the night.

Always seperate the pregnant goats from the non pregnant goats,more goats loose their babies this way (fighting).Always better to keep the buck(s) separate in their own pen or house.Always bring the doe in heat to the buck for breeding.

Hoof trimming,goats do from time to time need their hoofs trimmed,important to maintain good health.


Sir good day bago lang po ako dito sa forum and about to start my own goat raising business.  pwede po ba magrequest ng photo ng goat pen?  ok lang din po ba kung made of bamboo ung pen nila, pero elevated pa din?  paki-send nlng po sa email ko pbsans@yahoo.com thank you po!
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mikey
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« Reply #51 on: January 20, 2009, 12:10:45 PM »

Pbsans
sorry but I cannot understand unless written in english,then I might be able to offer some help.
Thx.
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« Reply #52 on: January 22, 2009, 07:58:18 AM »

Pbsans
sorry but I cannot understand unless written in english,then I might be able to offer some help.
Thx.

ah ok sorry!  anyway, i would just like to ask for any links pertaining to pictures of goat pens.  i'm actually planning on starting my own goat raising business and i need some info on how to construct the appropriate housing for them.  is it okay if the pen is made of bamboo?  thanks and Godbless
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mikey
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« Reply #53 on: January 22, 2009, 12:54:31 PM »

pbsans
Hi,okay picture(s) of a goat house,will try and find you something.Yes you can build your goat house from bamboo, and bamboo flooring with palm roof.
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« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2009, 01:17:00 PM »

thanks!

here's my email add

pbsans@yahoo.com

or just post the link

thank you very much!
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mikey
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« Reply #55 on: January 22, 2009, 01:30:52 PM »

pbsans
just sent you a message through this forum,check,if you do not get it let me know and I will email you okay.

Support The Goat:
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« Reply #56 on: January 22, 2009, 02:07:11 PM »

pbsans
just sent you a message through this forum,check,if you do not get it let me know and I will email you okay.

Support The Goat:

got it sir mike!  thanks a lot!

i'll be sure to start with the construction asap.  i'll be sending you the pictures once it is completed

thanks again!  Godbless!!!
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mikey
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« Reply #57 on: January 23, 2009, 07:23:44 AM »

pbsans
you are welcome,once you build the goat house then you can build bamboo stalls inside for your goats.Hope to see your pictures once you finish your construction.

Good Luck
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« Reply #58 on: March 16, 2009, 01:22:35 PM »

Mycoplasma
Knowledge is Power to Fight This Deadly Goat Disease!

By Gianaclis Caldwell 


Author's note: I am not a veterinarian. All references to medications used in this article are for reference only as they relate to my personal experience. Please consult a licensed veterinarian when dealing with this or any other medical problem.


Mycoplasma is one of those diseases that most goat owners have heard of, but may not be able to tell you much about. Like so many problems, until it threatens your own animals, it remains a word in a book, a definition waiting to be looked up. Unfortunately, I know a lot more about mycoplasma than I would like to know thanks to the pathogen calling on our herd in the spring of 2005.

Before I tell the story of our own loss and learning, let me give you a short course on mycoplasma. I would first like to reassure you that mycoplasma is not the killer that it once was. The microorganism has apparently lost much of its virulence. So please read on without too much trepidation!

Mycoplasma—In a Nut-Shell
Mycoplasmas are simple microbial organisms (not true bacteria or viruses) that lack a true cell wall. While this makes it sound as if they should be easy to be rid of, unfortunately they are not. Most antibiotics work by attacking the cell wall, thus destroying the microorganism. Since mycoplasmas do not have a cell wall, not as many antibiotics are effective against them.

There are many members in the mycoplasma family. The most common typically cause mastitis and respiratory problems. Many animals never sicken after exposure, but remain capable of passing the pathogen to their offspring in their milk (the most common route of transmission). While many adults can remain asymptomatic, kids, especially those under stress, are the most susceptible to becoming ill after exposure.

Another problematic aspect is that there are no laboratory tests that guarantee your animals are mycoplasma-free. The pathogen is capable of lurking undetected within an a-symptomatic host. Unless an animal is "shedding" during the test your results will be negative. So while you may never have had any animals ill or with symptoms of mycoplasma, you cannot know for sure that your herd is mycoplasma free. Only when symptoms appear and tests are done specifically for mycoplasma will you know. Not a very cooperative little pathogen, is it?

The Stealth Killer
Even when an animal has symptoms that might be indicative of mycoplasma, it could easily be a bacterial or viral problem—and more often than not it will be. So you might treat the animal for what you think is pneumonia, joint-ill, or bacterial mastitis. The animal recovers and you never know that it might have been mycoplasma. Here's an example using one kid with three different treatment approaches:

Scenario 1: A six-week-old wether kid goes off his feed. You watch him, he looks okay so you wait until the next morning. You take his temp. It is 105.3°F. You give him a little Banamine (a pain killer and fever reducer) and check your antibiotic stock. If you are like most of us, you have LA 200 or Biomycin (both are oxytetracyline) on hand. You double check the dosage for this age and weight and start him on a course of treatment.

He is still taking his bottle, although with less than a kid's usual vigor, and his temperature is dropping. He doesn't like to stand up, but you figure he is just feeling poorly. By the next day, the antibiotics and Banamine seem to be helping. His temp is down and he is back to eating well. You figure he had a touch of pneumonia. You continue with the oxytetracycline and he recovers completely, never having any more problems.

Scenario 2: Your six-week-old wether goes off his feed. You watch him and he looks okay, but the next morning he looks a little listless. You take his temp, it is 105.3°F. You give him a little Banamine and call your vet. You also notice that he doesn't seem to want to stand up. After closer inspection, you see that his knees are a bit swollen—or is it your imagination? They are not soft and squishy, and he is very fuzzy. You mention all of this to your vet who suspects joint-ill (an infection that enters through the newborn's umbilical cord). Even though you dipped his cord right after birth the vet says that it can still happen. So he starts the kid on Naxcel (a newer, powerful antibiotic) and has you continue the Banamine. You have the little guy in your house to watch him closely and keep him taking fluids. By the next day, you think he is getting better, as his temp is within normal range at 103.2°F. But he isn't eating and seems so uncomfortable. You keep up the antibiotics. He won't stand at all by the end of the day and it is obvious the joints are tender. If you bend his knees for him, he cries out in horrible pain. That night, his temperature plummets, and he dies in your arms.

You are horribly sad, but know you have done all you can. You let your vet know. He suggests a post-mortem joint fluid culture taken to rule out other possibilities. He asks if the dam has had mastitis. She hasn't, so he suspects a bacterial infection which led to polyarthritis. The cost for the culture is high, you don't want to haul this dead kid to the vet, you have no other symptoms in your herd, so while you feel bad, your budget dictates that you pass on the cultures and bury him.

Scenario 3: A six-week-old wether kid goes off his feed a bit. By morning he looks worse, so you take his temperature. It is an elevated at 105.3°F. He also seems a bit stiff when he moves. You decide to take him to the vet. The vet gives you the possible causes after she notices that his knee joints are tender. One possibility is bacterial polyarthritis (also known as joint-ill), which she thinks is the most likely cause, even though his cord was properly dipped at birth. Since you have no mastitis in your herd, mycoplasma is not her first suspect. But just to be sure, you decide to go ahead and have a joint fluid sample taken. It is painful for the kid and you feel badly about the potential cost. The vet shows you the fluid under the microscope. It is obviously filled with pus, as it would be for bacterial polyarthritis. You and the vet decide that a sample should be sent to a lab for culture, just to be sure. The vet starts the baby on oxytetracyline (which is effective against mycoplasma) and sends you home with some Naxcel as well to switch to if he doesn't improve. The culture will take 7-10 days. Fortunately the kid improves within a day or two. The bill is $250.

Then the culture comes back positive for mycoplasma.

Our Story
Our story is similar to both Scenario 2 and 3. Our first kid to get sick was treated as was the kid in example two. He was a little buckling that we were keeping intact and were quite impressed with. When he died it was very difficult, both from the standpoint of the loss of the potential as well as watching a creature suffer. I know now that we didn't have to lose him or let him suffer. At the time I was convinced it was "joint-ill" as everything I read seemed to indicate that diagnosis and our vet thought so too. It was only when a few weeks later that another kid, a little wether, developed the same symptoms that I felt there must be something else going on. Even then, I was very doubtful of it being mycoplasma. We had never had a clinical case of mastitis. We milk all of our does twice a day, even when they have kids on them part time, so we are quite aware of their udder health. Everything I read and the vets that I talked to at the time, confirmed these feelings. Then the test came back positive for mycoplasma.

At first I felt like quitting the business. We had thought our herd was so healthy. We had thought we were free of any contagious pathogens. We did annual CAE and Johnes testing, put tarps up at shows, hadn't bought any new stock in some time, all of it. I was humbled.

We decided to have the sample cultured further to determine what exact mycoplasma we were dealing with. This took another few weeks and more funds. We also took milk samples from all our does and had them cultured for mycoplasma as well. Although, by this time we knew that the shedding of the microorganism can be intermittent and asymptomatic. We also knew that there was a possibility that we had spread it to other does via the milking machine. I felt so dismayed. I wondered how we could deal with this and still enjoy the farm.

The milk samples all came back negative. Nice in one way, not in another—at least a positive sample would have told us who our culprit was and given us something to act upon.

The joint fluid sample came back positive for Mycoplasma mycoides mycoides Large Colony (or MmmLC). This is the one that I had come to suspect after spending the intervening weeks reading everything I could find on mycoplasmas. It is also the one I hoped for (if you could hope for such a thing) as it seemed to be the least pathogenic of all of them.

Changes. We had to make them. We had to for our own assurance as well as for our buyers. We started pulling kids at birth and feeding heat treated colostrum and pasteurized milk. For the does in the milking string, we implemented a manual "back-flushing" regimen to sanitize the inflations between animals. We had more samples of milk taken and cultured after all of the fall fresheners were milking. All samples are negative and none of the other spring kids that received mixed milk have ever sickened.

Our two kids that sickened, received commingled (mixed from the whole herd) raw milk. One of the does had to be an asymptomatic carrier. She may never shed again, or she might. Had she passed it to other kids who never sickened, but are now carriers as well? We were suspicious of one doe whose SCC (somatic cell count) was higher than normal during the time the kids would have received her milk. Her tests all came back negative, but we placed her in a pet home anyway. We are now (at the time of writing) over three years out from our experience. None of the other goats, that received the mixed milk at the same time as the ones that were ill, have ever had any problems. We continue to not allow their kids to nurse and if we feed commingled milk, it is always pasteurized.

Mycoplasma Arthritis - How it Happens
When a kid receives milk with the MmmLC in it, the mycoplasma most often attacks the joints first. When this happens the kid's temperature spikes (a spike means a sudden increase followed by a rapid decrease). The front knee joints are often the first to be affected, with firm swelling, and seem painful when touched. Their gait becomes tentative and stiff. Very rapidly they become septic (a body-wide infection) and their temperature begins to drop (this is why you do not see extremely high temperatures with mycoplasma, it attacks so rapidly that their systems begin failing before their body can attack it with extended fever). For the less observant herdkeeper, the kid can even look as though it has enterotoxemia, with its hunched posture and painful cries.

For all animals with mycoplasma in their system, including the asymptomatic ones, stress can cause an active, symptomatic case. An unstressed animal can remain asymptomatic and healthy, but still shed the pathogen.

For our two kids, one developed it after a long transport (when you would also suspect "shipping fever" and might treat for that instead) and the other sickened just shortly after castration. All others (seven kids in addition to these two) that received the same milk at the same time, have never showed signs. But we will suspect them as carriers and not ever feed their raw milk to their kids.

Other Stories
In doing the research for this article, I called upon other breeders who had experienced mycoplasma in their herds. I received several private communications from breeders who have had proven cases of mycoplasma.

In all of the stories there was a common theme of unpredictability. For example, one doe had two kids with only one that sickened and died. The other kid never showed symptoms and never passed it on to her kids, nor did that dam ever have any kids sicken from it. In another small herd, one doe spiked a high SCC then died a few months later. Her necropsy cultures were positive for mycoplasma. She apparently never passed it on to her adult herd-mates or to her kids. These breeders felt strongly that mycoplasma is very opportunistic. It may be out there in many herds, but only strike the occasional animal that becomes stressed or is immune suppressed for some reason.

All of the breeders who kindly shared their experiences with me asked that they remain anonymous. Due to the past virulence of the disease and the stigma associated with mycoplasma positive animals, they are hesitant to openly share their experiences. Understandably so.

Conclusion
We live in a world where disease can spread rapidly and cause great financial loss to farmers and breeders. This fear of both the disease and the potential financial loss can lead to the lack of open information and therefore education for breeders. By sharing our experience openly I knew that we might lose sales. But I feel strongly that sharing information will lead to a healthier population of animals and a more informed buyer or breeder.

Given the fact that we had a "closed herd" that appeared vigorous and healthy yet one of the animals was a carrier, you can draw the conclusion that there must be many undocumented carriers of mycoplasma. Therefore, learning to identify the symptoms, prevent further spread, and gain knowledge of the organism is critical. Even if it is never eliminated, suffering can be alleviated and losses cut if we know what we are dealing with.

Once you come to terms with the likelihood that many herds could have undetected mycoplasma carriers; that these carriers might never spread the disease; that if spread the disease is not the death sentence; and that you can implement a highly effective preventative program if you choose, then the fear changes to knowledge and power. We owe it to our animals and to our fellow human-herdmates to share our experience.



 
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« Reply #59 on: January 10, 2012, 04:33:56 AM »

website to pictures of worms affecting goats and sheep

http://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/binaries/18475%20Worm_Parasite%20Atlas_tcm130-126570.pdf
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