Herd Health Program :
Here at Staveley Farms we believe that good management and prevention are our best defenses against diseases and problems. Over the years we have been able to eliminated or manage most health issues that have developed with in our own herd. We have found through experience that following the very strict motto "When in Doubt Cull it Out". is what really works the best. It is expensive to cull, but more expensive not to. In the long run it saves a lot of money not spent in medications and time on less resistant animals. Our management style has helped us to create a herd that will continue to evolve genetically to become much stronger and healthier with its future generations. Of course, I am not saying that we never treat any of our animals for health issues. We do have animals that get sick from time to time, every farmer does, and we treat them when needed.
Disease Control on our Farm
CAE (Caprine Arthritis-Encephalitis)
In 2008 we tested our herd for CAE. We were very please that all of them tested negative. We joined the CAE certification program in 2009. This program requires all animals over 6 months old be tested annually. Any purchased animals must be quarantined and tested negative twice at least 60 days in-between the tests.
We have continued with the certification program every since and have retain the highest level on the program.
Caprine Arthritis-Encephalitis is a disease that can be a silent money grabber the symptoms of the disease can be very obvious or not visual at all. Animals can have CAE and never show symptoms of the disease or can be completely disabled by it. It is a wasting disease that causes hard udders, big knees, arthritis, and chronic pneumonia. It is transmitted mainly through the mothers milk but can be passed by blood or bodily fluids. There is no treatment for CAE.
Here is a link on Caprine arthritis and encephalitis (CAE) for more information on this disease.
Johnes Disease (Paratuberculosis )
In October 2017 after much research we decided to test for Johnes Disease. We tested all the goats in our herd close to and over two years old. Johnes disease is only detectable in mature animals. The test for Johne's (pronounced "Yoh-nees") disease or paratuberculosis (two names for the same animal disease), is not as accurate as CAE tests so we in good faith still cannot say 100% it is not in our herd. No one can. A negative blood test for Johnes means the goats tested are 60% to 70% negative, however, a positive test usually means they are most likely positive. This is as good of results as any herdsman can hope for. No positives !! We continue to test all animals close to and over a year old annually now by fecal. All purchased stock that comes onto our farm is tested negative before purchased/or it's mother if it is too young. Then tested again negative in quarantine on our farm before exposing it to our herd and pastures.
Johnes Disease is spread mainly from doe to kids. It is almost always contracted when an animal is very young with in the first few months of life. Animals don't show symptoms of the disease till they are at least 2 years old and some animals can have the disease and never show symptoms. It is a wasting disease, there are only two symptoms one is rapid weight loss and the other is diarrhea which is not common in Sheep and goats. The animal continues to have an appetite while becoming emaciated and weak. Basically the animal cannot absorb the nutrition it needs.
For more information here is a link:
On our farm we test all abscesses. Any abscess we find on an animal is culture tested to see if it is CL. It is not opened on the farm. If any animal ever tests positive for CL it will be eliminated from our farm not sold to our customers or managed with in our herd.
We also practice preventative measures by inoculating our breeding stock with Glan Vac 6 it provides protection against , CL, Entertoxaemia (pulp Kidney disease)Tetanus, black disease, malignant oedema and swelled head in Rams. This product is made by Zoetis and must be prescribed by your vet. Like the other vaccines it is sold off label for goats in Canada. It is recommended to give 1cc behind the ear but our vet said it was o'k to give it over the rib so that if there is any swelling it is not mistaken for a CL abscess. For more information here is a link Glanvac 6.
In the past we have used both Casbac with Covexin or Caseous D-T either of these vaccines seem to work well. I prefer the Glan Vac 6 because it is only necessary to give 1cc and then a booster the first time, the others you need 2cc and boosters. I think with all of these vaccines it is necessary to give them every 6 to 8 months to have the best protection from them. I found the goats to have less physical reaction to the GlanVac 6. I didn't see any symptoms or reaction at all after vaccinating them.
At one point I contacted the Doctor at Colorado Serum who make Casbac and Caseous DT and had a long conversation with him, he told me CL can be brought into a herd via mosquitoes but it is mainly spread from open abscesses. The vaccination is 70 to 80% effective if the animals are actually exposed to CL. If they are not vaccinated they are 100% at risk to contract the disease even if your herd has no previous signs of it.
We found that the inoculation sometimes causes a knot at the injection site and the best place to inject is right over the rib cage. After the first injections in January 2009 the adults goats seemed to be off not feeling very well almost like children after being given inoculations but by the next day they were all fine. The reason it is off label for goats is because of the this reaction.
Colorado Serum Company You have to order these products through you vet.
(Not labeled for use in goats). Caseous D-T is a combination of three antigenic substance used to protect against (1) enterotoxemia caused by clostridium perfringens, Type D (2) toxemia caused by clostridium tetani, and (3) to aid in the prevention and control of Caseous lymphadenitis, a disease charaterized by localized collections of pus in the tissue of the body caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. (Colorado Serum Company)
Overeating disease or Enterotoxemia: Most common in animals being fed a high carbohydrate diet (but not always the case some animals on grass can get it as well) overeating disease occurs mainly in young animals, usually the biggest and healthiest in the group, but can be in goats of any age. Clinical signs include appetite loss, depression, severe abdominal discomfort, scours, bleating. The acute form in adult goats can take course over 3 or 4 days signs are the same as above but less severe, beginning with pasty poop turning into diarrhea, dehydration and acidosis most animals die without treatment.
Caseous Lymphadenitis: Has two forms: (1) External abscesses (more common in goats) usually found around the neck, throat or behind the ear, and (2) Internal abscesses (more common in sheep) in the lungs, liver and kidneys, but, is found in goats as well. CL abscesses are a cheesy greenish-yellow to off-white odorless pus encased in a capsule. It starts out as a lump under the skin and gradually become larger until it is ready to open. The surface becomes bald and softer. If you absolutely must deal with an abscess wear gloves and keep all the contents from contaminating other surfaces or objects. Burn the contents. This stuff can be very contagious, don't leave it to open up in the pen.
There is no way of knowing if it is CL or not by the location of the abscess or the visual content. Most abscesses are not CL but the best method of practice to control the disease is to quarantine the animal, test all lumps before they open, and cull immediately if it tests positive. Do not have any CL abscess open on your farm.
Caseous D-T will control Caseous Lymphadenitis when animals are vaccinated prior to exposure to the disease. There is no cure for infected animals.
Here is a link to more information about Caseous Lymphadenitis and the different types of bacteria that cause abscesses. Many are not contagious or dangerous but still should be treated as such. With out a lab culture test there is no way of knowing what type of bacteria it is.
October 2010 we decided to join the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program.
Scrapie is a fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. It is what is known as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Other TSEs include bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, and Creutzfelt-Jakob disease in humans. While the exact cause of scrapie is still debated, the disease is associated with the presence of an abnormal form of a protein called a prion.
There is no treatment or vaccine currently available for this disease.
Scrapie is a slow to develop, usually takes more than a year and a half for clinical signs to appear in an infected animal, although it has been known to take up to eight years to develop. Typically, cases occur in animals between two and five years of age. Once an animal appears ill, however, it will die in one or two months.
Symptoms vary tremendously between cases of scrapie. One may observe an older animal with changes in general behavior such as aggression or apprehension, tremors, in coordination or abnormal gaits. However scrapie can also present as a mature doing animal with a poor wool coat or even simply found dead.
Symptoms : Weight loss despite retention of appetite, behavior changes, itching and rubbing, biting at limbs or side, bunny hop movement of rear limbs, increase sensitivity to noise and movement, tremors, down and unable to stand. The animal may show all or none of these symptoms.
Scrapie is spread through fluid and tissue from the placentas of infected females. It can be transmitted from an infected female to her offspring at birth, or to other animals exposed to the same birth environment. Males can contract scrapie, but they do not transmit the disease to other animals.
Scrapie is diagnosed after death by microscopic examination of the brain tissue, tonsils, lymph nodes or spleen that have been treated with a special stain.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Program
Scrapie is a reportable disease under the federal Health of Animals Act, and a control program exists to prevent its spread. As scrapie is a reportable disease, any suspect scrapie case must be reported to a CFIA veterinarian immediately.
(This information was taken out of the Voluntary Scapie Flock Certification Program Information Handbook. ) For more information on the program or the disease their website is : www.scrapiecanada.ca
The United States Department of Agriculture has a good site with video of animals that have actually contracted Scrapies so that you can see how they behave with this disease. United States Department of Agriculture Scrapies Videos
Purchased Stock Preventative Regime
Our health and management program has become so aggressive we are more and more cautious of purchasing reproduction animals from other farms. We do not want to introduce a lot of stock with the risk of compromising our health status. We have found that working on improving our own genetics with really good quality bucks is giving us the best results with the least amount of exposure to outside diseases and problems. We are proud to say that most of our animals are homegrown and selected from our own breeding up program.
When we do bring in stock from other farms we follow a strict preventative regime and it is continuously becoming stricter. All animals that have entered our farm in the past few years were tested for CAE and Johnes twice within 60 days. They are tested for worms and coxideosis and vaccinated before exposing them to our herd.
Since we are on the Scrapie program to be able to keep our status we are only allowed to buy females from farms that are ahead of us on the program to prevent introduction of this disease into our herd.
Parasitical control on our farm
We only de-worm the animals that need it (not the whole herd) and only when absolutely necessary.
When we started to raise goats our vet at that time told us we should blanket treat the whole herd with de-wormer every six months. After several years with the goats on the pastures the worms on our farm became more aggressive. The vet prescribed double dosages and different types but it was still ineffective. After spending lots of money on the medicine and time dosing the animals over and over, as well as taking several stool samples our goats became more and more sick fighting the heavy load of worms. We were very discouraged with the effort that we had put into treating them with out any great success. After doing a lot of research on our own we decided to spend money on building more fences instead of buying more medication. This enabled us to rotate the animals more often and completely abandon two of the pastures for a whole season. Most of the goats within a few weeks on the new fresh pasture with lots of trees and leaves were able to fight the worms and bounced back on their own, no longer eating close to the ground so the worms were starved out. Some of them were less resistant even after being put on the better pasture they didn't have the genetics to fight the parasites. We ended up treating them with a different type of worm medicine and then culling the weaker ones out when they conditioned up enough.
Today we use the Famacha test by checking under the eye lid to see if the color is pink enough.
Many of the mature goats and their offspring in our herd have never been treated for worms and are all in excellent condition.
A lot of goats and sheep are becoming immune to de-wormers from under dosing and over medicating. Our policy is to de-worm only when we absolutely need to. To give a good dose and make sure it is a bit more than what is required by weight. We are rotating our pastures and letting the grass grow up to at least 6 inches. This helps to keep the worm load down. We are also culling animals that show less parasitical resistance. In general they say in herds 20% of the goats produce 80% of the worm problems.
Here is a link for more information on Famacha testing and how to check for the parasite load of an animal by looking at the color under the eye lid.
I found this site to be very interesting Parasite Control and Prevention it explains the different types of worms that goats get as well as the types of chemical wormers that are used to treat them.
We started using Copper Boluses in 2015 as needed. Many goats become deficient in copper with the boluses it allows the goats to use what they need with out over dosing.
Hooves are trimmed around every three months or as needed. When the animals are on pasture they wear them down so they do not required trimming as often. We use coppertox on the hooves after trimming them applied with a tooth brush. It is inexpensive and controls any hoof issues.
How to trim hooves : Always follow the animals natural growth pattern, look at the lines on the outside of the hoof and trim back only as far as you see pink.
Here is a good link about Hoof Trimming this site has pictures that explain it well.
Using Peat Moss for bedding
( I wasn't sure where to add this but I thought it was important to share because we found it works so well and is important for herd health to keep the pens clean and dry).
Our barns have a dry pack of wood chips on the bottom layers of all of the pens. When cleaned it is only taken down to this layer of dry chips. Several times a year we spray down the pens with disinfectant or bleach and water. Then loose dry white wash lime powder is spread on top to create a barrier and to also help control parasites and coxideosis. We use either Peat Moss or shavings for bedding over top of the lime layer depending on availability. We have found that the Moss is much dryer, less costly and easier to keep the pens clean. So we can clean less often. (It use to be every two weeks or so for the animals that are stalled now it is about once a month or even less depending on the weather). Usually we put a bit of straw or loose hay on top just to keep it from being too dusty. Also as an added plus we are seeing that it helps keep their hooves dry and clean and they don't require as much trimming even when they are kept in because of the absorbency of the Peat Moss.