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Tip of the Month

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This month, we're continuing our discussion of skin problems which may afflict goats. Last month, we covered nutritional disorders, physical and chemical disorders, and parasitic diseases. If you missed this part of the article and wish to read it, simply click on the "Archive" button above, and then follow the link from last month. This month we continue with other common maladies:

  1. Nutritional Disorders
  2. Physical and Chemical Disorders
  3. Parasitic Diseases
  4. Bacterial and Fungal Infections
    1. Impetigo - common in female goats; predisposing factors are superficial lesions on the udder and teats; most common cause is staphylococcus; may be spread from milkers to other herd mates; treat by washing affected area with original Dial soap (good antibacterial properties); may also be treated with daily topical medications.
    2. Acne - inflamation and rupture of the hair follicles, with spread of the infection into deeper tissues; predisposing factors same as those for impetigo; lesions are warm and painful with nodules, pustules, draining tracts, and crusts; staph is most common agent; treat both topically and systemically (penicillin).
    3. Abscesses - caseous lymphadenitis is quite common. This is extremely serious, as it can be spread to other herd mates; isolate any infected animal and have the treatment performed by a qualified veterinarian - serious thought should be given to culling the animal; other causes are vaccine and medication injections, foreign bodies (plant awns), demodectic mange mites; differentiate abscesses from other non-infectious swellings; treat with surgical drainage, daily flushes with antibacterials, isolation, and other control measures.
    4. Clostridial infections - "malignant edema" or "swelled head"; organisms found in soil and intestinal tract produce potent toxins; presents with soft, doughy, swellings with marked reddening, with or without emphysema, and fevers; may be fatal within 24-48 hours; requires agressive treatment; vaccination is best in enzootic areas.
    5. Ringworm - fungal infection which can be spread to the keeper; usually presents as a circular, whitish, crusty lesion with hair loss; face and ears are most commonly affected, but not always; treat with a topical antifungal medication (athletes foot medication can work well).
  5. Viral Infections
    1. Contageous ecthma (sore mouth or orf) - transmission by direct or indirect contact; short-lived (about 1 year) after infection; sores on lips muzzle, eyelids, oral cavity, udder, teats, and feet; may be transmitted to humans, causing painful sores; no specific treatment, other than supportive care; better to avoid altogether; vaccine is available, but is not recommended to closed herd that have no problem.
    2. Goat pox - the most important pox disease of domestic animals, but very rare in US.
  6. Neoplastic Diseases - generally very rare in goats as compared to other livestock
    1. Cutaneous Papillomas (warts) - most common in saanens; seem to be atypical in this breed and may not regress spontaneously; contageous spread by direct contact; reports of transformation into squamous cell carcinomas; can be a problem if on udder or teat.
    2. Other tumers - melanomas, squamous cell carcinomas, cutaneous lymphosarcoma; these are rare.

This pretty much covers the range of lumps, bumps, and rashes that you're likely to see. Some things are easily handled by the keeper and are not really serious. Others, such as caseous lymphadenitis or sore mouth, are to avoided like the plague. Know the breeder from whom you purchase your seed stock. Purchase from a reputable breeder who maintains a clean herd. Be careful when strangers (or grubby friends) visit your animals. If they appear to have "cooties", assume that they do and limit their access to your herd. It is far better to never deal with these diseases than to have to expose your whole herd to them. It may be preferable to cull an infected animal than to risk your whole herd. Hopefully, you'll never have to deal with the more serious maladies. And if you do, maybe this article will help you recognize any problem before it gets out of hand.

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Welcome PageDescription of Dairy HerdWhat's New at the Site?Crafts and Nifty StuffAlchemy's MenagerieTip of the MonthPrevious Tips of the MonthOther Resources of Interest