DISEASE PREVENTION, MANAGEMENT, CONTROL
Preventing the introduction of diseases onto your property should be a major concern of every goat raiser. But while prevention should be your goal, in reality, control and management must also be your focus because no herd can ever be completely "disease free."
Diseases can enter your property from many sources. Introducing new animals is the usual avenue but not the only way. Here are some of the routes by which diseases arrive.
1) Bringing new animals into the herd from offsite.
2) Offering stud service. This involves bringing other goat raisers' does onto the property for breeding service by an on-site buck or using someone else's buck to breed your does.
3) Goat shows. A huge source of infection and illness, shows are like children's day-care centers -- incubators for disease.
4) Visitors. Infectious materials can enter on visitors' shoes, clothing, skin, and hair; on the tires of vehicles; in hay, water, tubs/buckets, feed and other supplies.
5) Unclean conditions in pens and pastures.
6) Poor health management practices within the herd.
7) Your family members, livestock guardian animals, and pets.
8) Insects, birds, or animals (wild or domestic) that enter from adjacent properties.
Quarantine new animals brought from outside your property in order to protect your goats from the bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that the new animals might be carrying. The reverse is just as true: newly-introduced goats need to be protected from organisms present on your property to which they've never had their immune systems exposed. These goats are on a new property in a changed environment and perhaps in a much different climate from which they have been previously adapted to living. From the moment they left their previous homes, these goats' immune systems were under assault.
Set up a pen and shelter sized to accommodate your anticipated needs and locate it away from and downwind of pens and pastures where healthy animals are regularly kept. The pens should be large enough to provide space for proper exercise and should have at least a three-sided shelter with roof to protect the new goats from bad weather. Nearby but not within this pen/shelter area, there should be several smaller gated pens and sheds where sick animals can be confined for observation and treatment. Use Jeffers' AgPro Biosecurity Mat (item # WEBAPDA) with Trifectant Disinfectant Tablets (item # T6T3) at the entrance to your property and your pens and require everyone entering and exiting to place the soles of their footwear onto the solution-soaked mat. Everyone handling these goats should use disposable gloves.Quarantined and sick goats should be kept in these isolation pens.
Goats new to the ranch should be quarantined for a minimum of four weeks, during which time they should be dewormed (after fecal counts have been done to establish their worm and coccidia load), vaccinated, udders and testicles examined, and hooves checked and trimmed. Just because you have dewormed does not mean that it worked. If blood testing for specific diseases is part of your management program (it should be unless you are very sure of the health of the herd from which they came), do it while the goats are in quarantine. Utilize the services of Bob Glass of Pan American Vet Lab in Texas. 1-800-856-9655. If the tests come back positive and the new goats are already running with the main herd, exposure to disease has probably already happened.
Offering breeding services on your ranch is an avenue for infection. Before making a decision to offer such services, read my Article entitled "Pros and Cons of Offering Breeding Services" on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. Decisions must be made and agreements put into writing before the first goat is allowed to arrive on your property. Don't do this on a handshake.
Participating in goat shows requires that you take extraordinary precautions to protect both goats and human participants from exposure to bacteria, viruses, and other contagious organisms. Consult an experienced goat-show participant or a qualified goat veterinarian to find out what steps to take to protect you and your goats from bringing "unwanted visitors" home with you. Vaccinate your goats against Overeating Disease, Tetanus, Pneumonia, and Caseous Lymphadenitis well in advance of transporting them. Administering oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml injections (LA-200) to reduce transportation and show stress isn't going to prevent the contraction of diseases like soremouth, pinkeye, Johnes, and Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis. (I don't use the Soremouth vaccine for goats, as this live vaccine has effects that I think outweigh its positive attributes.) Young goats are especially vulnerable because their immune systems are still immature. Sick goats should not attend shows or allowed to participate. If they are, leave immediately. Don't unload your animals. The health of your herd is more important than a forfeited entry fee or a winning ribbon.
Visitors, relatives, children, pets, your helpers, and you can bring in infectious bacteria, viruses, and other organisms without realising it. I use the AgPro Biosecurity Mat and Trifectant Tablets cited above. This is the very minimum protective action that you should take. If you know that visitors or family members have had direct access to goats from outside the ranch, then those folks should be asked to change clothes and shoes before they enter your property. A visit to the 4H barn is a good source of contamination.
Dirty pens, feed troughs, and water containers are sources of illness. Worms and coccidia thrive in these environments. Birds, insects, and wild or domestic animals are vectors of disease from goat to goat. Placentas not disposed of after birthing can be transmitters of abortion diseases. Many other diseases are spread through placental material and mucous secretions. Footrot is highly infectious and contaminated ground quickly spreads it. Viral diseases such as Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis (CAE), Soremouth, and Pinkeye are quickly passed around in overcrowded herds. Incurable Johnes Disease is transmitted via infected fecal material. Cutting open and draining an active Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL) abscess (or any other type of abscess) and exposing the exudate (pus) to other goats and to the ground is one of the ways that abscesses are spread throughout a herd. Reusing contaminated needles, syringes, and scalpels is another method of disease transmission. Wood feed troughs and hay bunkers collect bacteria in the wood's grain; use plastic instead of wood whenever possible.
Raising quality goats requires planning and hard work. Advance planning will cut down on the amount of work you face daily. . THINK LIKE A GOAT™.
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Briggs, Texas 6/1/18
Important! Please Read This Notice!
All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.
In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.
The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)
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