Even though we’re only a couple weeks away from the true start of winter (hard to believe, I know), some trees are still clutching onto their leaves as if the dying foliage will be enough to fortify their soon-to-be bare branches against the frigid temperatures. It’s important to take note of the trees that have leaves yet to fall, especially if you house livestock outside in pastures or sacrifice lots. I’m sure most have heard of the dangers of black/wild cherry limbs and leaves for cattle, but there are several other trees and shrubs that can cause negative impacts on cattle, horses, sheep, and goats.
Wild Cherry. Poisonous to all classes of livestock, wilted cherry leaves and branches can cause prussic acid poisoning, the same poisoning as seen in frosted sorghum-sudangrass. It’s best to remove Continue reading →
Goats harbor several species of coccidia but not all exhibit clinical coccidiosis (see Coccidiosis). Adult goats shed coccidia in feces, contaminate the environment, and infect the newborn. As infection pressure builds up in the pens, morbidity in kids born later increases. Signs include diarrhea or pasty feces, loss of condition, general frailness, and failure to grow. In peracute cases, kids may die without clinical signs. Rotating all the kids through one or two pens is dangerous. To help prevent coccidiosis in artificially reared dairy goats, the kids should be put in small, age-matched groups in outside, portable pens that are moved to clean ground periodically. Eradication is not feasible, but infection can be controlled through good management practices. Coccidiostats added to the water or feed are adjuncts to a management control program and not substitutes. Chronic coccidiosis is one of the main causes of poor growth in kids and is responsible for the uneconomical practice of delaying breeding for a year until the goat has reached adequate size (70 lb. [32 kg] for dairy breeds). In Angora goats kept extensively, the problem is seen at weaning, when the kids are kept in smaller lots and fed supplement on the ground.
Mark Landefeld, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Monroe County
Jeff Bettinger, Lead District Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Limitation of water intake reduces animal performance quicker and more dramatically than any other nutrient deficiency (Boyles). Water constitutes approximately 60% – 70% of an animal’s live weight and consuming water is more important than consuming food (Faries, Sweeten & Reagor, 1997). Domesticated animals can live about 60 days without food but only about 7 days without water. Livestock should be given all the water they can drink because animals that do not drink enough water may suffer stress or dehydration.
Signs of dehydration or lack of water are tightening of the skin, loss of weight and drying of mucous membranes and eyes. Stress accompanying lack of water intake may need special considerations. Newly arrived animals may refuse water at first due to differences in palatability. One should allow them to become accustomed to a new water supply by mixing water from old and new sources. If this is not possible, then intake should be monitored to be sure no signs of dehydration occur until animals show adjustment to the new water source.
Water requirements are influenced by physiological and environmental conditionsContinue reading →
Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University
Swine producers are nervously watching the outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) that are happening around the world. Did you know there is a disease just as devastating that can impact sheep? It is called foot and mouth disease (FMD).
Luckily, the United States (U.S) has not had a case of FMD since 1929. However, with global travel and trade, the risk of FMD introduction to the U.S. exists. An FMD outbreak could cost the industry $15 to $100 billion U.S. dollars. The U.S. sheep industry has benefited from an expansion in lamb exports and more than half of our wool is exported. One case of FMD in the U.S. and our export market would be shut down. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) values preparedness. The ASI funded the development of the Secure Sheep and Wool Supply (SSWS) Plan (securesheepwool.org) to help producers protect their flocks from FMD. Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) partnered with the ASI to fund outreach materials and efforts to increase FMD awareness of producers and other stakeholders. Continue reading →
(Image Source: American Veterinary Medical Association)
One of the classes I teach every year is the Quality Assurance training for 4-H students to prepare for fair season. While I probably would not have too many 4-H students who agree with me on this part (it is a mandatory training for them each year), I will say it is one of my favorite classes that I teach. Part of the reason I enjoy it is how I believe 4-H can positively impact lives, the other is that it allows me to use my veterinary background to engage the students. While the GPP’s (Good Production Practices) that are taught vary from year to year, I always make sure to engage the students with some practical veterinary knowledge so that they can make sure that their livestock project animal is at its healthy best while under their care. A key component to maintaining healthy animals is to have a healthy relationship with your veterinarian. This is known as the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship or VCPR. Here is how it is defined, established, and maintained straight off of the American Veterinary Medical Association website. Continue reading →
I remember one day back when I was in private practice when a client brought in their dog for their examination and vaccinations and when he set his pup up on the examination table I noticed that the dog’s entire top half of his fur was slicked back. When I asked about this the client stated that he noticed ticks on the dog, so he covered him with motor oil to drown them out. I have also had clients tell me they put cigarettes out on ticks to burn them off or use kerosene to drown them off. Hopefully, they never use both of those “treatments” at the same time!
(Image Source: Dr. Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, North Carolina State University – Sheep Anthelmintic Withdrawal Times)
Whenever we sell animals, be it at auction, privately as feeder lambs, breeding stock or even just pets and lawnmowers it is our responsibility to make sure that the animals we are selling will not enter the food chain with illegal drug residues in their tissue. Animals that are sold at auction need to be ready to slaughter as many enter the food chain within hours or days after being sold. Private sale feeder lambs, pets and breeding stock animals can be sold before their drug withdrawal times are over as long as you tell the buyer and they are okay with taking responsibility. Be sure to include the information on the bill of sale too, for your protection. The animal you are selling might not be intended to go to slaughter any time soon, but accidents happen and circumstances change, so buyers need to be aware if the animals have drug residues in their tissue.
Animals are randomly tested for drug residues at slaughter by the food inspection service officers. Animals that test positive for Continue reading →
(Image Source: North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension)
The price of a single calf, lamb, or kid lost to a preventable disease could pay for the vaccination program for a producer’s entire herd or flock.
Whether raising sheep or cattle, livestock producers should always plan on vaccinating their young animals, Dr. David Fernandez, Extension livestock specialist and interim dean of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said. The price of a single calf, lamb, or kid lost to a preventable disease would pay for the vaccination program for a producer’s entire herd or flock in most cases.
“Vaccines only cost about $15 per calf and $0.50 to $1 per lamb or kid,” he said. “They protect your flock or herd against diseases that can often prove to be fatal. Even if a disease is not fatal, a producer could lose several pounds of growth for each sick animal.” Continue reading →
Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist, University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program
(Previously published on the Maryland Small Ruminant Page)
(Image Source: Maryland Small Ruminant Page)
Rectal Prolapse – A complex problem with many contributing factors
A rectal prolapse is when a portion of the rectum protrudes outside the anus. It is easy to recognize. The exposed tissue is usually a bright, cherry red (at first). Eventually, the exposed tissue becomes dry and cracked, causing more irritation and straining.
If left unattended, a rectal prolapse can become a life-threatening condition and a cruel way for an animal to die, as untreated animals may prolapse their entire intestinal tract and go into shock.
Sheep of any breed, age, or sex may be affected. Ewe lambs that prolapse should not be retained for breeding, as they are more likely to prolapse their vaginas at lambing. Prolapses occur less often in goats than sheep. Prolapses can occur in other livestock and humans as well.
Coccidiosis is a serious problem that commonly causes death in kids and lambs. Knowing the facts about coccidiosis can help producers develop a plan for prevention and/or treatment of the disease.
Coccidiosis is not caused by a bacteria, virus, or roundworm but by single cell protozoa. There are multiple coccidia species that are found in the environment. Some of these are non-infective, some moderately infective, and others are highly infective. Strains of coccidia are animal species specific with some very limited crossover between sheep and goats.
The rumen encases a complex ecosystem containing numerous species of bacteria and protozoa that collectively provide the capacity for efficient fermentation of carbohydrates. Among the major products of such fermentation are volatile fatty acids and lactic acid. Wild ruminants and those raised on pasture consume a diet rich in grasses of one sort or another that consist mostly of cellulose. Cellulose is a molecule that might be called a “slowly fermentable carbohydrate”. In contrast, grains such as wheat, barley, and corn are considered “highly fermentable carbohydrates”, meaning that they can be very rapidly fermented to generate – you guessed it – large quantities of volatile fatty acids and lactic acid. Ruminal acidosis results from consumption of a unaccustomed quantity of highly fermentable carbohydrate, almost always well described as grain overload.