Here are diseases that give goats sleepless nights
Just like in dairy cow production, mastitis is the mother of challenges in dairy goat production. This is the swelling of the mammary glands and is caused by bacteria.
Mastitis causes decreased milk production, veterinary costs, premature culling and sometimes death of affected animals. It can affect a single animal or can be an outbreak. High occurrence of mastitis is a major challenge to the dairy goat sector in Kenya and is related with lack of a mastitis control program and poor hygiene during milking.
Mastitis can occur at any time during lactation but commonest in early lactation. Bacteria that cause mastitis come from the environment of the animals and that is the reason why hygiene remains the most successful method to control mastitis. Main sources of infection include bedding, the milkers’ hands, milking towels and milking equipment.
Mastitis prevention and control
Mastitis can either occur as a detectable infection with pronounced clinical signs known as clinical mastitis or a subtle infection known as sub clinical mastitis. Subclinical mastitis is most common but clinical mastitis leads to severe reduction in milk production.
Proper hygiene is the best remedy for mastitis. This is achieved when milkers wash their hands thoroughly before and after milking and use of a separate clean udder cloth or a disposable tissue for cleaning of each goat.
Goats harbour several species parasites known as coccidia which cause a disease known as Coccidiosis. These parasites show disease in young goats than adults. Adult goats shed coccidia in feaces, contaminate the environment, and infect the newborn.
To help prevent coccidiosis in dairy goats, the kids should be put in small, age-matched groups in pens that can be cleaned regularly.
Eradication is not feasible, but infection can be controlled through good management practices. When infections come up, drugs prescribed by your vet known as coccidiostats are added to the water until the infections resolve.
Stomach and intestinal worms that cause a disease known as helminthiasis can become a great challenge if not controlled. Whenever this is severe, it leads to poor growth, weight loss, diarrhoea, a scruffy rough hair coat, signs of anaemia and swelling bellow the lower jaw.
Clostridium infections are more dangerous to kids and can be fatal. This is caused by clostridium bacteria and infections are highly dependent on diets and diet changes such as high carbohydrate diets.
In large herds where this is a major problem, vaccination every four to six months may be necessary and this vaccine is available through your veterinarian. Usually, affected goats develop severe diarrhoea and depression; milk yield drops abruptly. Death may result in 24 hours. Treatment needs to be sort for from a registered vet as soon as clinical signs are noticed.
Caprine arthritis and encephalitis is a common viral infection. All breeds of goats are susceptible to this virus and is easily transmitted by new goats.
Symptoms include silent but persistent infection; a progressive paralysis of young goats two to 12 months old, lack of milk in milking goats, non swollen udder at the time of kidding, or a form of arthritis with pain and swollen joints in adults.
This infection is spread from dam to offspring through colostrum and milk.
In cases where this infection has been diagnosed in a farm, control programs are usually aimed at separating the newborns from the adult population and feeding heat-treated colostrum and pasteurized milk.