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Not all diseases are the same.

Here's a quick look at some of the basic differences

In dairy goats - and all livestock - a "disease" is not necessarily a contagious thing that can be stopped with an injection of the right medication. To understand the ailments that can trouble our stock we need some idea of the variety of the problems we might encounter.

"Disease" simply means a deviation from normal health. If a goat is not healthy we say it has a disease, but disease comes in many forms.

There are acute diseases and chronic diseases. An acute disease comes on quickly and is quite obvious, but usually it's over quickly. Acute mastitis, with a hot, swollen udder, abnormal milk, and a clearly sick animal is an example of an acute disease.

Chronic disease

A chronic disease develops slowly and lasts a long time. If you don't watch closely you might not even be aware there's anything wrong with the animal. There are chronic mastitis problems that might not produce abnormal milk, but simply cause lowered production and one-sided udders.

A disease can be localized or systemic. Pinkeye is localized - it affects only the eye. Shipping fever in cattle is an example of a systemic disease - the animals have eye discharges, respiratory and digestive problems, and other aches and pains.

Diseases can be infectious or noninfectious. An infectious disease is caused by a bug - a bacteria, virus, etc. This is what most people think of when they hear the word" disease." But even infectious diseases come in different varieties. Some are contagious, some are not.

Soremouth is infectious, and also contagious. Once it gets into a herd it is likely to run through the barn until almost every animal has gotten it. Once the goats have had soremouth they should be immune. Only newborn kids are likely to get it after that.

Tetanus is infectious - caused by a particular bacteria - but not exactly contagious. If one goat gets tetanus you don't expect the whole herd to come down with it in short order. It takes a particular type of wound before an animal can become infected with the bacteria.

Some important dairy goat diseases are not infectious. They're nutritional, or metabolic - which is also basically nutritional. White muscle disease is nutritional. It's caused by a lack of the trace mineral selenium. Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D.

Pregnancy disease, or ketosis, is metabolic. The normal body functions are for some reason upset and the goat becomes calcium-deficient, even though the diet might contain plenty of calcium.

Diseases are also classified according to the system of the body they affect. Brucellosis and leptospirosis are reproductive diseases. Coccidiosis is a digestive disease which affects the stomach or intestines. Pneumonia is a respiratory disease. Listeriosis and rabies affect the central nervous system.

Mange is an example of an "integumentary" disease - one which affects skin, hooves or horns. Foot rot in cattle also falls into this category.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:livestock diseases
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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