This presentation was given at the 2007 Spring Forum of the Maryland Association of Agricultural Fairs and Shows, Inc. It discusses the issues and diseases of primary importance at fairs and other expositions.
Assessing Sheep and Goat Health SUSAN SCHOENIAN Sheep and Goat Specialist Western Maryland Research & Education Center Maryland Cooperative Extension (301) 432-2767 x343 – firstname.lastname@example.org Maryland Association of Agricultural Fairs and Shows Spring Forum - March 18, 2007
Fairs are stressful to livestock
Handling and transportation stress.
New pen mates (?)
Contact with other animals.
Different water, food (?)
Out of their normal routine.
Basic assessment of sheep/goat health
Good body condition
Bright eyes with good eyelid color
Dry nose or slight clear (or white) discharge from nose.
Head and ears up
Tail up (goat)
Healthy hair coat
Clean hocks and hindquarters
Freedom from scabs, sores, abscesses, etc.
Poor body condition
Runny, red, or swollen eyes. Pale eyelids.
Colored discharge from nose
Head and/or ears handing down
Droopy tail (goats)
Rough hair coat
Scabs, abscesses, sores.
Runny or liquid feces; blood or mucous in feces
What is normal? 22 to 28% avg. 28% 27 to 45% avg. 35% Hematocrit (packed cell volume) 70 to 90 beats per minute 70 to 80 beats per minute Pulse 15 to 30 breaths per minute 12 to 20 breaths per minute Respiration 1-2 per minute 2 per minute Ruminations 102-104°F avg. 102°F (101.5-104°F) Rectal Temperature Goats Sheep Parameter
Assessing body condition an estimate of fat and muscle
It is a subjective score. The exact score is not as important as the relative scores and differences between scores.
Both the vertical bone protrusion (spinous process) and horizontal protrusion (transverse process) of the loin are felt and used to access body condition scoring.
Highly contagious to other sheep/goats, as well as to people .
Lesions most commonly seen on mouth and lips. blisters -> ulcers -> scabs
Clears up in 1-4 weeks.
Skin diseases: external parasites
Rub, bite, scratch
Dull coat, hair/wool loss, bald patches, dry skin
Redness of skin
Skin diseases: ringworm Club lamb fungus
Caused by a fungus.
Can be transmitted to humans.
Transmitted by animal, equipment, or surroundings.
Slick shearing makes lambs more susceptible.
Causes skin lesions.
Definitive diagnosis is made by culturing the fungus.
Heals on its own in 8 to 16 weeks.
Foot rot and foot scald
Foot rot is caused by the interaction of two anaerobic bacteria and is highly contagious .
Foot scald involves only one bacteria and is not contagious.
Primary symptom is lameness in one or more feet.
They appear the same until you examine the feet.
Foot rot infection is in hoof vs. foot scald which is between toes.
Foot rot has a characteristic foul odor.
Abscesses Disease of concern: Caseous lymphadenitis (CL)
Disease has internal and external form.
Abscesses at lymph-gland sites.
Caused by a bacteria.
No human cases have been reported in U.S.
Pinkeye Infectious keratoconjunctivitis
An inflammation of the inside of the eyelid.
Usually bacterial in cause ( chlamydia, mycoplasma ).
Different from pinkeye in cattle.
Usually infectious and contagious to other sheep and goats.
Symptoms: watery, red, swollen yes; formation of new blood vessels’ cloudiness in white part of eyes; tearing; and crusting (yellow or green pus).
Mild cases heal in 10 to 14 days; severe cases may take 6 weeks to heal.
Symptoms to look for
Elevated body temperature
Heavy, labored breathing
A clear, bilateral, watery nasal discharge is relatively common, especially in sheep, usually due to poor ventilation and/or temperature fluctuations.
Internal parasites (GI worms) are the primary health problem affecting sheep and goats. The barber pole worm ( Haemonchus contortus ) is the worm of primary concern. The barber pole worm is a blood-sucking parasite that causes blood and protein loss (anemia) and edema (“bottle jaw”). Worms have developed resistance to most of the anthelmintics (dewormers).