Infectious Diseases of Goats: Practical Tips on Biosecurity, Diagnosis, treatment and Control

Speaker: David Harwood

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Infectious Diseases of Goats: Practical Tips on Biosecurity, Diagnosis, treatment and Control


Goats are one of the most widely farmed livestock globally. Modern goat keeping gives us a full spectrum of activity from nomadic tribes moving from location to location with their animals, to the range keeping activities in Australia, to units fattening goat kids for meat and to intensive goat dairy production systems in which several thousand goats are housed and milked through highly automated parlours. Alongside these production systems are those in which goats are kept in small numbers as a hobby, as pets and at public attractions where their docile and inquisitive behaviour make them popular with all ages.

Regardless of why and how they are kept, there are many infectious diseases to which they are susceptible. Some such as caseous lymphadenitis (CLA), and causes of abortion are shared with other livestock such as sheep – and important on smallholdings where both species may be run together. Specific goat problems such as caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE) and “enterotoxaemia” need to be understood to be controlled effectively. More recently bovine TB has been identified in goats in the UK, effectively “spilling over” locally from high levels of infection in cattle and wildlife.

In the UK – goats are classed as a minor species, and as such – very few medicines (both therapeutic and prophylactic) have a marketing authorisation for use in goats – meaning that most products must be used under cascade principles – this is also problematic.

This presentation will address these issues giving practical advice on the diseases themselves, how they present, what the risk factors are for entry into a herd, and what treatment and preventative measures are available.

Learning Objectives:

Delegates will:

1. Be given relevant background information on the aetiopathogenesis of the common infectious diseases of goats kept under UK conditions and how to recognise them.

2. Learn about the problems associated with controlling nematode infestations in goats.

3. Be given some guidance on basic biosecurity to keep goat herds healthy and free of disease.

4. Be shown the currently available licensed medicines for goats in the UK, and how to negotiate the cascade principles.

5. Become confident in developing pragmatic Herd Health Plans that can be applied to any goat enterprise be it two goats kept together as pets, or 4000 dairy goats housed together.