- Diseases affect the productivity of an animal and cause losses due to morbidity, mortality, veterinary cost and production factors.
- In India diseases are number one constrain in goat farming which causes huge economic losses and responsible for closure of farms.
- Knowledge of diseases and health management is essential to run a profitable and successful goat enterprise.
- This series is made on practical goat health management not only for knowledge of goat diseases.
A wide range of bacterial, viral and parasitic infections are associated with morbidity and mortality, resulting in economic losses to the goat-farming community. Disease problems are inevitable in any livestock production programme, hence it is mandatory to frame a suitable herd health management and preventive medicine programme to enhance production performance.
Disease is defined as the state that prevents optimal productivity, while health is a state of harmonious well-being that allows optimum productivity. This video series will discuss the range of goat diseases in the tropics and the possible approaches to managing disease in farmers’ fields and in intensive production systems. The emphasis in this series has been placed on diseases of economic importance in intensive production and subsistence farming systems.
Health Screening of Goats
It is necessary to screen the flock to identify ailing animals. It is general practice to observe the flock.
There are 2 important aspects in goat disease diagnosis. First is history of animal and second is physical examination.
Health screening of goats are necessary to know any disease condition. In this we have to observe the flock and examine behavior of individual goats from distance.
Goat farmer should know that ‘how goats behave in the flock’. If you have habit to observe your flock keenly then you can easily find out problematic individuals.
After distant observation, a detailed physical examination is carried out.
A physical examination includes observation of the animal, vital clinical signs, medical history and sample collection.
History Taking (Anamenesis)
History taking is an important task for the clinician to aid in predicting the animal’s clinical condition.
Farm related information:
- Type and purpose of enterprise: meat, dairy, smallholding, pedigree, etc.
- Other species or enterprises managed concurrently.
- Routine preventive protocols.
- Location of farm, ventilation, sunlight availability, hygienic conditions etc.
- Recent disease or management problems and changes, including seasonal changes and weather events.
- Local disease occurrences.
Animal related information
- Signalment: age, gender, breed, home-bred or bought-in (and when), value.
- Specific concern or complaint of owner, and atypical behaviour noted (in particular feed intake).
- Others in the group or herd affected, including other clinical signs that could be part of the same picture (e.g. salmonellosis or brucellosis causing abortion and diarrhoea). Where group problem, morbidity and mortality, and timeline.
- Production status of animal and interval to last major event: for example, drying-off, parturition, weaning.
- Production data for the animal: milk yield, weight gains, reproductive events.
- Gradual or sudden onset, and any potential triggering events.
- Health history of this particular animal, including routine treatments: for example, vaccination, anthelmintics, castration.
- Environment of animal: housed or at pasture, and recent changes to this.
- Diet and any recent changes to this (deliberate or accidental).
- Treatments administered by farm for current problem, and response seen. Also taking into consideration that recent treatments may mask clinical signs.
Basic Clinical Examination of Goats
- Animal’s environment: water availability and quality; feed types, availability and quality; space allowance; bedding quantity and quality; ventilation, draughts and unpleasant smells; ambient temperature; exposure to inclement weather; signs of disturbance (animals rubbing against structures); undesirable components (waste products, poisonous plants, injury risks, etc.).
- Group behaviour and interactions: bullying, crowding, restlessness or agitation.
- Patient behaviour: proximity to group, stance and gait, respiratory rate.
Examination of Vital signs: respiratory rate, heart rate, rectal temperature, rumen rate etc
Respiration rate (RR) – Respiration rate is the chest movement per minute when an animal is at rest. A stethoscope is placed on the chest to record the cycle of inhalation and exhalation.
Heart Rate (HR) – Heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute, measured by placing the stethoscope on the 3rd–4th intercostal space.
Temperature – This is the rectal temperature (RT), recorded by inserting the mercury/digital thermometer into the rectum for 1 minute. The recorded temperature should be in degrees centigrade (°C) or in Fahrenheit (°F). While measuring temperature it should be kept in mind that thermometer must gently touch the wall of rectum. Radiation thermometer may not give correct temperature because hair coat may hinder it’s working.
Mucous membrane examination – The eye mucous membranes are observed for any discolouration in comparison to a normal pinkish mucous membrane. An abnormal discolouration of the mucous membrane is indicative of a clinical condition in animals.
Rumen contractions – The ruminal contraction or movement are recorded to assess ruminal activity. It is best recorded by placing the fisted hand on the left paralumbar fossa, as seen in picture. The normal rumen contraction is 1–2 times per minute.
Normal values for vital signs in goats in normal environmental conditions.
|Heart rate||70–90 beats per minute|
|Respiratory rate||20–30 breaths per minute|
|Rumen motility||1–2 motility per minute|