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ORIGIN: United States

Extension Goat Handbook

This material was contributed from collections at the National Agricultural Library. However, users should direct all inquires about the contents to authors or originating agencies.

DOCN 000000058
NO G-4
J. L. Ayers; Los Olivos, CA.
S. B. Guss; Pennsylvania State U., University Park
Health and Disease Management

1 Diarrheal diseases are common in newborn kids, as they are in calves, lambs and piglets. It is the authors impression that these diseases are continuously present (endemic) in fewer goat herds and the morbidity, severity and mortality are lower in goats than in newborn calves, piglets and probably lambs. The most severe diarrheal diseases are colibacillosis and salmonellosis. In calves, these two are also the most common whereas less severe, non-specific causes of diarrhea may predominate in kids. The discussion which follows will pertain mostly to colibacillosis and salmonellosis; some of what is said will be the result of extrapolation from calves and sheep and some will be from the very few reports and experience on goats.

2 Transmission The primary source of infection is feces of infected animals and transmission is by ingestion. The propensity of young kids to nurse objects especially just after being bottle fed and their inate curiosity, often satisfied by mouth, make them easy prey for infection. All objects which can be contaminated by feces are potential transmitting agents including bedding, pails, nipples, clothing, tools, feed, water and the skin of the udder and perineum of the mother. The organisms are often ingested within minutes after birth. The more intense the management system and dense the population the more heavily contaminated the environment becomes.

3 Salmonellosis may have the additional source of infection; that is, the mother herself may be a latent (inapparent) carrier. In the latter case shedding the organism is precipitated by the stress of kidding.

4 Salmonellosis Probably most species of the genus Salmonella (S.) are capable of producing enteric disease in farm animals. S. typhimurium is the most common of the genus in goats and cattle in the USA but the incidence of S. dublin infection has increased dramatically in cattle in the Western United States. S. dublin is much more likely than S. typhimurium to form a latent carrier state by quietly residing in the lymph nodes and tonsils of cattle, only to emerge, produce disease and transmit infection during time of stress such as calving. S. typhimurim is more likely to subside after initial exposure and to recur only when the source of infection reappears.

5 Reports of the disease in goats are sparse, therefore the following generalizations may not be valid. However, S. typhimurium seems to affect any age goat with a short, fatal course and is highly contagious. S. dublin may be less contagious and infected goats seem more apt to recover.

6 Clinical Signs -- The peracute case is found dead without previous signs and is most frequent in the newlyborn. The acute form has been reported in 2-4 week old kids with a high morbidity and mortality (32 of 35 animals dying) and in adults over 1 year old. First there is a profuse, watery, (the fecal consistency may be more like paste or putty with S. dublin) yellow diarrhea; this is rapidly followed by depression, rapid dehydration and weakness. Some die in 8-12 hours, most in 24-48 hours and a few live for a week. The temperature may reach 106-108 but often returns to normal or subnormal near death.

7 Tissue Changes -- Post mortem findings are often not striking. The peracute case may have excess fluid in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity and heart sac (pericardial space); there may be tiny (petecchial) hemorrhages in various parts of the body especially around the heart, the middle small intestine may fill with gas, contain some fluid and have a thin wall.

8 Acute cases will have mild to moderate inflammation (reddening) of the inner lining (mucosa), and less frequently hemorrhagic enteritis will be present. The outer surface of the intestine and linings of the body cavities (serosa) will likely have petechial hemorrhage. The messenteric lymph nodes are usually enlarged, wet and when cut have a soft consistency. In animals that live longer, the liver will appear enlarged, have rounded edges and often the gall bladder is full. Only rarely will the intestinal mucosa show varying degrees of erosion or ulceration. Increased volume of amber joint fluid with or without white fibrinous clots or casts are not an uncommon finding in the joints of longer lasting acute cases.

9 Diagnosis -- Signs will mimic colibacillosis, coccidiosis, certain parasite infestations and enterotoxemia; tissue changes are also nonspecific. It is important to conduct a necropsy examination on the first as well as all animals dying. It is equally important to attempt isolating the causative organism at least from the intestinal contents, the messenteric lymph nodes and the liver. A diagnosis of Salmonellosis is important because it will indicate the need to concentrate more on prevention than on drug therapy. However most laboratories will not be able to type the species of Salmonella that was isolated. It is important that this be done, however, and for this purpose the isolate can be sent to the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa via your regional Federal Veterinarian's Office.

10 Prevention and Treatment -- The few reports of Salmonellosis in goats have been very discouraging regarding prevention and treatment. However, the strict management practices employed in well run cow dairies should always be followed and should help keep Salmonellosis at a low level.

11 Prevention and fluid therapy will be discussed as a separate section because it applies to all enteric and many other diseases. Management practices that prevent or reduce the amount of exposure to Salmonella sp. is the only real hope of control for an endemic herd. The following treatment recommendations are made with the reservation that they are often not successful.

12 Chloramphenicol is a drug that is not cleared for use in goats and should only be given under veterinary prescription. It is inactivated by a functioning rumen and should therefore not be given orally to the kid that has started to eat roughage in any significant quantity. However, it is often the only drug to which the organism is sensitive. Trimethoprim-sulfadoxine combinations and nitrofurans have been successfully used in calves and systemic Salmonellosis will sometimes respond to ampicillin.

13 Dehydration and acidosis should be combated with oral, intravenous or subcutaneous administration of fluids, electrolytes and energy as will be discussed later.

14 Colibacillosis The bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) has several serotypes, most of which are normal nonpathogenic inhabitants of the gastro-intestinal tract. There are pathogenic serotypes, however; some of these are capable of gaining entrance to the body (septicemic form) through the intestinal wall, others remain in the intestinal tract and liberate a toxin which is absorbed by the body and causes generalized disease and diarrhea (enterotoxogenic form). A milder enteric form, without signs of toxemia but causing diarrhea, is a third and intermediate form. Colibacillosis is a disease of very young animals usually 2-10 days old.

15 Clinical Signs -- The septicemic form usually occurs in the first 4 days of life and when there has been no absorption of colostral antibodies. The animal is depressed, weak, anorectic (won't eat), the temperature is elevated early but drops below normal when the animal becomes weak and goes down. Diarrhea is not common. Death usually occurs in 2 days. Animals surviving for a week may show signs of the organism localizing in the joints, brain, eyes or lungs. The septicemic form is the most common form in lambs and is usually peracute. The same may be true in kids. ++++MISSING DATA++++

16 The most important factor in determining an animal's ability to survive colibacillosis is the serum immunoglobulin level before the animal develops the disease. Antibiotic therapy may help animals with marginal to adequate serum antibody levels but are probably of no value in helping the agammaglobulinemic (no immunoglobulin in the serum) animal.

17 Prevention of Colibacillosis and Salmonellosis Newborn ruminants are born with antibodies against various disease producing microorganisms (germs). These antibodies are proteins called immunoglobins. A newborn kid receives all of its protection (immunoglobulins) against germs as a result of drinking the colostrum milk produced by its mother. Milk of the very first milking contains many times more antibodies than does that of the second and later milkings. Further the intestinal tracts of the newborn can absorb the antibodies at maximum rate only during the first 12 hours of life; absorption decreases rapidly from 12 to 36 hours after which time no more are taken into the blood stream. In addition to these circulating antibodies there is another type (local antibodies) that attach to the surface of the intestinal tract, are never taken into the blood stream and do a certain amount of bacterial neutralization from this position.

18 Thus, colostrum is the first essential nutrient of the newborn. Without it, death of the newborn can be assumed. As a rule of thumb, one ounce of first milking colostrum per pound body weight (of the kid) should be received by that kid in the first 8-12 hours of life. Ideally this would be given in small quantities frequently. Removing the kid from the mother immediately after kidding has two advantages. First the udder can be cleaned prior to milking (this should be done even if one insists on letting the kid nurse) and the kid is removed from the relatively early heavy exposure to pathogens. Second, by feeding with a bottle, one will know how much colostrum is taken by the kid and can force feed the amount not voluntarily consumed. During the kidding season, extra first milking co lostrum can be frozen in ice cube trays, transferred to plastic bags for storage and dispensed, thawed and fed as needed. Measure the size of your cubes. They are probably 2/3 to 1 ounce each.

19 Housing is probably the next most important consideration in the prevention of enteric diseases of the newborn. Much of what will be suggested may be impractical or at least not cost effective under ordinary circumstances when there is no problem. However, if an enteric problem becomes endemic in a herd, some or all of these measures may need to be taken regardless of inconvenience.

20 Before proceeding, however, two observations are worth stating. Many times with any adverse change in the health status of a herd or individual (not limited to enteric problems) a manager will hesitate or even refuse to make recommended changes on the grounds that the management system has not changed ''for years'' so the system could not be contributory to the sudden problem now being faced. One can often and for a long time get by with slightly less than optimum down to even poor management practices. For reasons that often cannot be explained even by the veterinarian, a variety of subtle adverse factors will accumulate and finally culminate in an epizootic of worrysome to severe proportions. This will usually not be corrected by one step of managerial improvement, rather drastic measures are usually required to reestablish optimum health.

21 The second observation is especially applicable to enteric diseases but applies to all areas of health maintenance. One optimal management has achieved good health maintenance, there is a strong tendency to relax, take short cuts and save money. This will result in a recurrence to suboptimum health of the herd. Once can only hope that this change is dramatic enough to be noticed and corrected. Unhappily the dramatic change is often preceeded by a prolonged period of gradually diminishing growth rate of kids as well as decreased reproductive and productive capacity of the adults.

22 Kids should be removed from their mothers to a well cleaned, dry pen, free from drafts. Newborn kids should have access to the warmth of a heat lamp in cold weather (however, if the barn is closed and heated, respiratory problems will likely develop). Crowding should be avoided; ideally with no direct contact with others. The kid pens should be separate from the adult herd. Ideally different personnel would be in charge of kid care than those attending older and adult animals. An alternative would be to care for the unweaned kids, then the weaned kids, then milk and care for the adults.

23 After weaning the kids, pens should be cleaned thoroughly by scraping, then detergent and water, then disinfectant. The pens should be allowed to dry, sprinkled with lime and left idle 2-4 weeks.

24 Feeders and waterers should be constructed so as to always prevent their fecal contamination.

25 Fluid and Electrolyte Therapy -- Much of the body's fluid and electrolytes (minerals and other circulating chemicals necessary for normal body function) are lost via the feces (manure or stool) when an individual has diarrhea. When this loss occurs at a rate that exceeds the replacement rate by the milk or milk replacer, a condition referred to as ++++MISSING DATA++++

26 The kid with 8 0ehydration is obviously depressed and eyes appear sunken. This can occur within 12 hours of the time the appetite ceases. Dehydration can preceed clinical diarrhea because the fluid and electrolytes will have been leaving the body and going into the intestinal tract (not considered part of the body) during the 6 to 12 hour period prior to clinical diarrhea. The 8 0ehydrated animal should receive 150 ml intravenously over an hour and an additional 300 ml subcutaneously of Ringers bicarbonate with double the concentration of KC1, NaHCO3 and Dextrose listed above.

27 The 10 0ehydrated kid is usually down but can be made to stand and his legs are colder than the rest of his body. The 12 0ehydration animals is flat on his side, unable to stand. The prognosis with this severe dehydration is rather poor. The fluid therapy is conducted at the same rate but for longer periods until desirable hydration is obtained.

28 When following any treatment, check the animal in four to six hours and repeat fluid therapy according to the degree of hydration at the time.

29 After two days of oral electrolyte therapy without milk or milk replacer, the latter is gradually reintroduced into the diet by 1/4 milk and 3/4 electrolyte for 1 feeding, 1/2-1/2 for 2 feedings and 3/4 and 1/4 for one more feeding. It may take a couple of days for the diarrhea to stop.

30 If antibiotic therapy is not effective in 3 days, it is not going to be. Body temperature, alertness and perhaps appetite will be better indicators of response to antibiotic therapy than will cessation of diarrhea. The latter may not stop until after oral fluid therapy is discontinued. In all cases antibiotics should be used at least two days; if there is a positive response, use for 3 days.

ORIGIN;United States


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