2014 WINTER WEBINAR SERIES
SHEEP & GOAT HEALTH
PART I: BIOSECURITY
SUSAN SCHOENIAN & JEFF SEMLER – UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EXTENSION
WHAT IS BIOSECURITY?
• What you do to prevent the introduction and
spread of diseases on your farm.
WHAT IS A BIOSECURITY PLAN?
• A written plan that indicates what you do
to prevent the introduction and spread of
diseases to your farm (self-assessment).
• University of Maine and University of
Maryland Extension have collaborated to
create an online template for creating
• This is your homework assignment: create
a biosecurity plan for your farm (or update
one that you already have).
NEW ANIMALS POSE THE SINGLE
GREATEST RISK TO BIOSECURITY.
MOST DISEASES WALK THRU THE GATE!
WHAT DISEASES DO YOU ALREADY
HAVE ON YOUR FARM?
• Tapeworms (Moniezia expansa)
• Liver flukes
• Protozoan parasites
coccidia (Eimeria spp.), toxoplasma gondii
• Some external parasites
• Foot scald (Fusobacterium necrophorum)
• Clostridial bacteria (overeating, tetanus)
• Lots of other disease-causing bacteria:
Actinomyces, Listeria, Streptococcus,
Staphylococcus, Pasteurella, mycoplasma,
e. coli, etc.
WHAT DISEASES SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED
ABOUT INTRODUCING TO YOUR FARM?
Some external parasites
Club lamb fungus
Pink eye (infectious)
Footrot (Dichelobacter nodosus)
Infectious causes of abortion
Epididymitis (Brucella ovis)
Caseous lymphadenitis (CL)
Ovine progressive pneumonia (OPP)
Caprine arthritic encephalitis (CAE)
Johne’s disease (MAP)
MAINTAIN A CLOSED FLOCK OR HERD
• The best protection is to maintain a
closed flock or herd.
• A closed flock/herd is one in which
no new animals are introduced.
• There are very few truly closed
herds and flocks, due to the need for
outside genetics and limitations of
artificial insemination (AI).
Far fewer diseases
are spread by AI..
MAINTAIN A MOSTLY CLOSED FLOCK OR HERD
• Limit new acquisitions to males for breeding.
• Minimize inbreeding and use AI to reduce the
need for new males.
• Raise your own replacements.
• Do not show or exhibit.
• Do not loan or lease animals to other farms.
• Do not breed or board animals from other
Recommendation: if an animal leaves
your farm, it should not come back!
ACQUIRING NEW STOCK
• The best place to buy sheep and goats is from reputable breeders,
who maintain closed or mostly closed flocks or herds.
• [Though the biosecurity risk is greater] consignment sales and
central performance tests can be good sources of breeding stock,
since the animals are required to have certificates of veterinary
• It is not recommended that breeding stock be purchased at public
livestock auctions or from livestock dealers – because there are
usually no health requirements or inspections nor any incentives to
keep diseased animals out of the market place.
• Feeder lambs and goats that are purchased from livestock auctions
(for resale) should be kept separate from the breeding flock/herd.
TIPS FOR ACQUIRING NEW STOCK
• Young animals make safer purchases than
mature animals, as they are less likely to be
• Don’t buy an animal right before you need it.
• It is better to buy multiple animals from a
single source than single animals from multiple
• Avoid bringing in new animals when your flock
or herd is the most susceptible to new diseases,
e.g. pregnancy, lambing and kidding.
WHAT SHOULD BE THE HEALTH STATUS
OF THE ANIMALS YOU ACQUIRE?
FARM OF ORIGIN
• Health record
• Free from footrot, pinkeye, soremouth
and club lamb fungus.
• Health paper (CVI)
• Free from infectious causes of abortion
e.g. vaccination and deworming history
• In-state purchase - not required
• Out-of-state purchase - required
(buyer must request, unless the animal
is purchased at an organized sale)
• Certified scrapie-free
• TB/Brucellosis free (state or herd)
• Visibly free from diseases
• Tests negative for diseases
QUARANTINING NEW ANIMALS
• Newly-acquired animals should be
quarantined (for at least 3 weeks) to
prevent the introduction of new
diseases or more resistant or
virulent strains of a disease.
• Newly-acquired animals includes
animals that have returned from shows,
fairs, festivals, or exhibitions.
• A pen away from the main flock or herd.
• Not the same place that you house sick
• No contact between quarantined animals
and the main flock or herd.
• Observe quarantined animals daily for signs
• Milk, feed, and water animals in quarantine
• Disinfect after leaving quarantine area.
• Anthelmintic (dewormer) resistance is a major problem in the small ruminant industry.
• Worms have developed varying degrees of resistance to all dewormers and classes of
• One way to slow resistance is to prevent the introduction of resistant worms to your
• All newly acquired animals should be dewormed with anthelmintics from two
(moxidectin + levamisole) or three anthelmintic classes.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: SHOWING LIVESTOCK
• Make sure your animals are hauled in
clean trucks or trailers.
• Ensure pens/housing area is clean.
• Minimize nose-to-nose contact with
• Feed and water your livestock separately.
• Have you own equipment. Don’t share or
• Discourage fair visitors from touching or
feeding your animals.
• When you return from a show, isolate
DEAD ANIMAL DISPOSAL
• Dispose of dead animals
and other wastes in a safe,
timely, and legal manner.
Carrion, afterbirth, and other wastes spread diseases and attract wildlife, including predators.
• Do not allow unauthorized visitors.
• Restrict visitors during critical periods.
• Require or provide protective footwear for visitors,
especially high-risk visitors.
• Provide a dip for visitors to disinfect their footwear.
• Display signage regarding biosecurity measures.
• When you return to your farm, do not wear the same
clothes and footwear that you wore to another farm,
a fair, or the local auction barn.
• Clean and disinfect: waterers, feeders,
lambing/kidding areas, quarantine areas,
sheds, barns, and equipment.
• Always provide clean, fresh water.
• Put feed in feeders (well-designed feeders)
• Do not feed on ground
• Avoid overstocking and overgrazing
• Do not let shearer introduce and/or spread
• Caseous lymphadenitis
• Club lamb fungus
• Make sure shearer has disinfected his/her
equipment since last job.
• Disinfect equipment between animals.
• Make sure youngest, healthiest animals
are sheared first.
• Do not share equipment.
• Prevent cats from contaminating feed and bedding.
• Neuter and vaccinate barn cats.
• Keep your dogs and cats from leaving farm.
• Vaccinate dogs and cats for rabies.
• Deworm dogs to prevent sheep measles.
• Do not allow other dogs to visit farm.
• Control rodent, bird, and insect populations
DISEASES WHICH TRANSMIT FROM ANIMALS TO PEOPLE
• Soremouth (orf)
• Club lamb fungus (ringworm)
BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
• Pregnant women should avoid contact with animals during
• Wear gloves or OB sleeves when assisting with births and
handling birthing fluids.
• Wear gloves when handling sick or diseased animals.
• Wear gloves when administering (live) soremouth vaccine.
• Wash hands in warm, soapy water after handling livestock.
• Make sure your tetanus inoculation is up-to-date.
• Consider getting vaccinated for rabies.
TUESDAY, FEB. 6
7 PM EST