Diagnosis of Animal Diseases NEW

Diagnosis of Animal Diseases NEW

Ruptured oral vesicle in a cow with foot and mouth disease

(c) United States Department of Agriculture

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Introduction - signs of disease

Farmers know that animals are sick when they notice changes in behavior such as refusal to eat, keeping to shady areas, or physical signs such as different breathing, coughing, body swellings etc.

Serious livestock farmers will keep observing their animals on daily basis to make sure no such signs miss their attention. It is important to catch such symptoms at an early stage in order to treat before the disease becomes too serious to treat.

The below guide to diseases judging from symptoms is a tool to assist farmers find out what may be wrong when their animals look unwell or die suddenly. It aso provides guidance on how to submit samples from sick animals (or whole dead animals) to a laboratory for analysis.

Animals cannot speak and tell us where they hurt. But we can observe the vital functions of their body and their behaviour. Feeding and ruminating are the best indicators of good health. For the good observer slight changes in feeding and ruminating can indicate beginning of a disease and early action can be taken (e.g. measuring the temperature). Th earlier you are aware that an animal  is sick the earlier you can start treatment and the more successful your treatment is going to be. - Treating animals that have been sick for long (chronic cases) is very difficult, costly and often a complete waste of time.

Disease Signs include:

  • Loss of appetite or not feeding at all
  • Fever
  • Abnormal consistent of the faeces
  • Abnormal colour (or consistence) of the urine
  • Abnormal colour or consistence of the milk
  • Swollen and hot areas of the body such as lymph glands or the udder
  • Breathing rate
  • Unusual smells
  • Abnormal behaviour

 

1. Body temperature and fever

Normal body temperature varies by about 0.5degCelsius during the day and can be a bit lower (early morning) or a little bit higher (evening) than the normal body temperatures listed in the following table. To measure body temperature you need a veterinary thermometer. It is very cheap and can be found in most agro-vet shops. It is an essential tool for theserious livestock farmer.

Body temperature in animals

Type of Animal

Normal Body temperature in degC

Upper limit in degC (any higher temperature is fever*)

 

 

 

Cattle

38.5

39.5

Calves

39.0

40.0

Horses, mules, donkeys

38.0

39.0

Foals

38.5

39.5

Sheep

39.0

40.0

Goats

39.5

40.5

Pigs

39.0

40.0

Piglets

39.5

40.5

Rabbits

39.0

 

Dogs

38.5

 

Cats

38-39 39.5

Birds

40.5

 

Adapted from Blood Radostits Henderson

 

 

2. Breathing rate , lung noises and other internal sounds

 

Stetoscope and it's use. Photo credit @ William Ayako, KARI Naivasha

 

Normal breathing rates for animals

You can count the breathing rate of a sick animal by standing next to it and counting the breathing movements for one or two minutes (inhaling + exhaling together count as one breath). There are different sounds generated inside the body of animals (like heart beat, breathing, stomach sounds), which are not easy to hear. Veterinarians (and human doctors) use a stethoscope that magnifies these sounds. Placing your ear on the skin of the chest wall of the animal above the lungs can help hearing abnormal lung noises in case of pneumonia. Veterinarians are trained to listen for abnormal sounds, so if there is a problem it is usually best to call the vet. However, keen farmers can also buy a stethoscope from an agro- vet shop and try to learn to use it.

 

Healthy adult

Breaths per minute

Cattle

12

Sheep,goats

12

Horses

12

Mules,donkeys

12

Camels

10

Pigs

15

Cats

            20-30

Dogs

20

 

 

3. Observing and Describing Disease Signs

The following list of symptoms intends to help you in recognizing disease and to also describe the disease signs to others (e.g. to the vet over the phone):

Fever:  measured by thermometer in degrees Celsius(shivering is often a sign of fever)

Breathing: dilated nostrils, facing the wind, groaning, grunting, coughing

Face Expression: off feed, nervous, excitable, aggressive, dull, lethargic

Nose/Nostrils: dry nose, running nose: watery fluid, pus, bloody fluid

Body condition: weak, thin, emaciated

Skin: matted color, dry, rough, peeling, scruffy, crusted, lumpy, bald, lesions and swellings on the skin surface, bearing lice/ticks/fleas

Mucous membranes: (these are white skin areas inside the eyelids below the eyeball, and the inside of the mouth, nose and vagina):  They can be pink, dark-red, bluish, yellow, whitish-pale;  with vesicles, with pustules/ulcers/blood/, cheesy deposits, sloughing off, stinking

Eyes: Can be cloudy/milky, inflamed, discharging water or pus, bulging out, sunken, bloodshot, blind (not reacting to movement of the hand), avoiding light

Lymph glands (also called Lymph nodes): easy to locate under the skin: can be enlarged

Behaviour:

  • Feeding: Off-feed, failing to chew the cud, vomiting
  • Drinking: more//less water than normal, not drinking water
  • Grinding the teeth, salivating, drooling
  • Looking at the flank, rolling, convulsions
  • Staring - not reacting
  • Staggering, turning in circles, star-gazing, high-stepping
  • Arching the back,
  • Stiffness of the legs, unable to rise, paralysis, coma

Urine:  abnormal color (red-brown), clear or cloudy, forming foam, pressing when passing urine,

Discharge from vagina: continuous or intermittent, clear, watery, cloudy or purulent, watery, yellow, pink, blood-streaked, foul-smelling, parts of placenta visible

Faeces: normally formed, soft, liquid, stinking, hard, slimy, frothy, clay-colored, black, greenish, containing blood clots, shreds of mucous membranes, worms

Milk: thick, watery, yellow, pale-white, pink, with pus or clots, blood clots, abnormal color. abnormal smell

Skin: swelling, hot or cold, hard or soft, painful or  painless, containing liquid or gas, pitting or crackling on pressure, tense or flabby, sharply or ill-defined, discharging pus, how distributed and of what size

 

Sending samples to a vet or to a lab

A diagnosis on the cause of disease (or death) can only be made from fresh samples.  That's why it is important to submit samples for examination as quick as possible. Using a cooling box helps to keep samples fresh for a bit longer. Sending samples to a vet or laboratory that have stayed for some time and are already decomposed and smelly is a complete waste of time.

When submitting samples from a sick animal (e.g. faecal sample, milk sample) for analysis, always use clean containers (e.g. a screw cap jar flushed with boiling water before use) or a strong plastic bags for transport (use at least two bags, storing one sealed bag with the sample inside the other bag). Check that the transport container does not leak! Leaking containers can spread disease to whoever is transporting and handling your sample.  Always send a written note with the sample. The note should provide information about:

  • Your address and contact (mobile number)

  • The type and age of animal that is sick (e.g. adult cow)

  • The number of animals that are sick

  • A full history of the disease signs seen (e.g. diarrhoea, swollen udder, not feeding, can't stand up, any abnormal behaviour)

  • Information since when the animal(s) is/are sick.

 

If a sick animal died a good description of the symptoms seen before its' death can help the contacted veterinarian to reach a diagnosis. Abnormal fluids and faeces (if the animal was slaughtered in emergency, also organs) of the dead animal, can all help in finding out the cause of death. Touching organs and fluids of an animal that died of disease can cause disease and even death in people! Do not carry out post-mortems on your farm as this endangers health and lives of your family, of yourself, your livestock and your neighbours! Protect yourself when handling fluids or faeces from a dead animal. - Small animals (chicken, lambs, kids, young calves) that died of disease can be taken to a vet or laboratory for post-mortem examination, but must be packed in a non-leaking sealed bag. Make sure the vet uses non leaking gloves when handling post mortem samples to avoid spreading of diseases to humans.

 

Examining blood

Blood smears can be taken from sick (or dead) cattle.  In sick cattle prick the ear with a needle or  the tip of a clean sharp knife and touch the drop of blood oozing out with a clean glass slide. With another slide touch the drop with one end of the second slide until the blood spreads along the angle between the two slides. Then push the upper slide along the lower slide so that it draws the blood after it. Wave the slide in the air until it is dry. Place inside a clean letter envelope and seal the envelope to prevent flies  from getting in. Do NOT stick two smears together because it makes both useless for diagnostic purposes. Instead use one envelope per slide.

Also take a lymph gland smear from sick (or dead) cattle by inserting an 18 gauge needle attached to a syringe into  a visibly swollen lymph node (best lymph node is the one in front of the shoulder blade), suck back on the syringe and expel the sucked up fluid onto a clean slide. Then let the slide dry and pack into a letter envelope for transport.

Blood samples are very useful for examining causes of diseases. Many diseases such as ECF, Babesiosis and anaplasmiosis are caused by microscopic disease organisms which will show up in a good blood or lymph node smear. Farmers can learn to make such blood smears and take them for analysis to the nearest vet or lab who has a microscope.

 

This will give a very accurate idea of the cause of the disease and will enable your vet to recommend the correct treatment. It is also much cheaper than tryng out different expensive drugs on the sick cow.

 

The procedure for making blood smears is simple:

  • Disinfect the inside of the ear with Dettol or Spiritus on a piece of cotton wool as well as the sharp knife to be used

  • Make a small prick in one of the blood vessels with a sharp pointed knife to draw just one drop of blood

  • Make sure the ONLY one drop of blood hits the middle of a clean glass slide and quickly draw a second glass slide through it to spread as thinly as possible on the lower slide. Wave the blood slide in the air for quick drying and place a clean glass slide on top of it to protect it from damage. Take the blood sample to the nearest vet office with a microscope.

 

 

 

Illustrations provided by William Ayako, KARI Naivasha

 

A microscope for analyzing blood smears and other tissue samples in glass slides. Photo provided by William Ayako, KARI Naivasha

 

Glass slides are available from pharmacies and from some agro vet shops.

 

List of Kenya Government veterinary investigation laboratories under the ministry of livestock development and their contact addresses

No.

Name of Laboratory

Address

Telephone Number

Location

Functions

1

Veterinary Laboratory- Kabete

 

Private bag code 625 Kangemi  Nairobi

Kenya

 

Kabete

-Diagnosis of disease and parasites

-Analysis of samples

 

2

Veterinary Investigation Laboratory

P.O.Box

Kericho

Kenya

 

Kericho

-Diagnosis of disease

-Analysis of samples

 

3

Veterinary Investigation Laboratory -Karatina

P.O.Box Karatina

Kenya

 

Karatina

Diagnosis of disease

-Analysis of samples

 

4

Veterinary Investigation Laboratory-Nakuru

P.O.Box  114 -Nakuru

Kenya

 

Nakuru

-Diagnosis of disease

-Analysis of samples

 

5

Veterinary Investigation Laboratory- Mariakani

P.O.Box Mariakani

Kenya

 

Mombasa

Diagnosis of disease

-Analysis of samples

 

6

Veterinary Investigation Laboratory-Eldoret

P.O.Box Eldoret

Kenya

 

Eldoret

-Diagnosis of disease

-Analysis of samples

 

7.

Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KVVPI)

P.O.Box 53280 Nairobi

Kenya

020-536043

/651595

Nairobi

-Manufacture of veterinary vaccines

 

 

Diagnostic disease chart for cattle in East Africa

 

Lead symptom: Died suddenly - animal(s) not seen sick before death

All the diseases below can cause sudden death in cattle. The additional observations listed intend to guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow the links below.

Additional observations:

Un-clotted blood oozing from body openings (nose, anus), grazing in dry flood zone    -> Anthrax
Swelling of muscle surface & gas under the skin (crackling sound), esp. 1 to 3 year olds  -> Blackquarter 
Feeding on clover / some legumes /green sorghum, abdomen extremely enlarged, froth in nose  -> Bloat
Painful swelling on neck /brisket, extremely fast breathing, froth in nose  -> Haemorrhagic Septicaemia

Animals grazing wet area or flood-zone, in swamps and marshes

 -> Black Disease (Liver Fluke)
Many ticks, only exotic cattle (= European breed) affected, convulsions, froth in nostrils   -> Heartwater

 

Other possible reasons why cattle can die suddenly are

Cattle have access to improperly stored chemicals, use of insecticide spray on/near cattle  -> Poisoning
Small bite marks on the head or leg  -> Snake bites
Sudden death only affecting suckling calves       -> see Calf problems

 


Lead symptom: Coughing and/or pus and watery fluid coming from the nose

All the diseases below can cause respiratory disease in cattle. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

Additional observations:

Acute

After climatic/transport stress or crowding/mixing of animals, many very sick at once -> Pasteurellosis

Young animals suddenly sick, most recover, some don't and become very sick                ->Calf Pneumonia

Very fast breathing, swollen lymph glands, froth in nostrils / mouth                                     -> ECF

Chronic

Deep dry cough, shallow fast breathing, grunt when exhaling, progressive loss of condition  -> CBPP

Occasional low moist coughing, mostly single adult animal, progressive loss of condition            -> Tuberculosis

Dry cough, chronic disease, esp. young animals on cool and wet highland pastures       -> Lung worms

 


Lead symptom: Diarrhoea - scouring

All the diseases below can produce diarrhoea in cattle. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Rains, esp. young cattle, feeding normally, poor body condition, not growing ->Worms Stom. & Intest.

Few calves dying, some without diarrhoea, necrotic ear tips in calves, sporadic abortion ->Salmonellosis

Only young suckling calves affected by and dying from diarrhoea                                                          -> Calf Scour

Mainly 8 months to 2 years old, dull, lesions inside mouth -> Bovine Virus Diarrhoea/Mucosal Disease

Chronic diarrhoea in an adult, progressively loosing condition, feeding normally             ->Johne's Disease

Acute, diarrhoea, lactating cow affected, fever, off-feed, udder is hot and swollen      -> Coli mastitis

 


Lead symptom: Loosing condition, ribs sticking out, rough coat

With all the diseases listed below cattle do severely loose condition. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Feeding normally, rainy season, mainly young cattle, often diarrhoea -> Worms Stomach & Intestine

Feeding normally, weak, anaemia, sometimes diarrhoea            -> (Blood-sucking) Worms Stomach & Intestine

Feeding normal, bottle jaw (= oedema on lower jaw), grazing in marsh / near swamp ->Liver Fluke

Very sleepy, pale membranes (around eyes), large lymph glands, area has Tse-Tse flies            ->Trypanosoma

                                Feeding normally, dull or abnormally coloured hair coat                              ->Mineral deficiency

Dry cough, ongoing respiratory disease problem in the herd since weeks and months ->CBPP

Occasional low cough, sometimes also diarrhoea, mostly single adult animal     -> Tuberculosis

Chronic diarrhoea in an adult, progressively loosing condition, feeding normally             ->Johne's Disease

Very thin, drought or insufficient access to quality feed; very hard coarse silage             -> Starvation

Wet, grazing inside thicket, very high tick load, pale membranes (around eyes)              -> Tick worry

 


Lead symptom: Abortion

All the diseases below can cause abortions in cattle. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Most foetuses are expelled near term, very often retained placenta after the abortion             ->Brucellosis

Very strong rains, females abort at all stages of pregnancy, newborns dying -> Rift Valley Fever

Late abortion, fetus decomposed, animals fed on poor quality silage (bad smell)                           -> Listeriosis

Late abortion, wet pasture (standing puddles), cow may be sick before abortion (jaundice) -> Leptospira

Some calves dying without clear signs, some animals with severe diarrhoea     -> Salmonella

Abortion between 4 and 6 months of pregnancy (often unnoticed), birth of paralysed calf -> Neospora

Early abortion (first 4 to 5 months hence often unnoticed), poor herd conception rate                -> Trichomonas

 


Lead symptom: Pale membranes or jaundice, often swollen lymph glands

With the diseases listed below cattle can develop anaemia (visible as pale/white membranes around the eyes) or jaundice (yellow membranes around the eyes) and have swollen glands. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

Additional observations:

Adult animal, first pale membranes later jaundice, dark-red urine, constipation/diarrhoea ->Babesia

Esp. in adults, membranes first pale then yellow, constipation/diarrhoea-similar to Babesia ->Anaplasma

Large glands, fever, cloudy eyes, fast breathing, sometimes diarrhoea, very sick & getting worse          -> ECF

Large glands, deteriorating slowly, very weak, always sleepy, pale membranes, area has Tse-Tse ->Tryps

Normal feeding, anaemia, normal glands, sometimes diarrhoea ->(Blood-sucking) Worms Stom. &Intest.

 


Lead symptom: Lesions on the skin

All the diseases listed below can produce lesions on the skin of cattle. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Painful nodules on skin (later become small wounds), inflamed eyes, running nose       ->Lumpy Skin

Tufts of hair coming off easily (esp. neck & shoulder), bold plaques, scabs, during rains ->Dermatophilus

Round hairless skin lesions, become confluent, not itchy, esp. in young animals             -> Ringworm

Very itchy skin lesion with hair loss and thickening of skin (can look like elephant skin) -> Mange

Affects light coloured skin parts most exposed to sun, skin sloughing off, not itchy ->Photosensitisation

Rubbing, scratching and biting the skin, sometimes also anaemia           ->Lice (massive infection)

Bleeding spot on skin, attracts flies and does not heal for a long time                   -> Filaria

 


Lead symptom: Lesions in the mouth and on the head

All the diseases listed below can produce lesions inside the mouth, on the head and/or affect the eyes of cattle. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

Additional observations:

 

Drooling, lameness, erosions on tongue / gums and also between the claws ->Foot & Mouth Disease

Very sick(!), inflamed eyes (milky-blue), ulcers in mouth, crusts on nostrils -> Malignant Catarrhal Fever

Weeping, one eye (rarely both) affected, eye: cloudy/white/blue/milky, temporary blind        ->Pink Eye

Small blood spots in the eye - come and go (also inside vulva), nose bleeding, 'poached egg eye'-> Ondiri

Lesions inside mouth, weeping, mainly 8 months to 2 years old, severe diarrhoea -> Mucosal Disease

Weeping (both eyes), eyes cloudy, very sleepy, poor condition, large lymph glands, Tse-Tse flies -> Tryps

Very sick, cloudy / milky eyes, high fever, fast breathing, swollen lymph glands                                             ->ECF

Bottle jaw, grazing in or near marsh/swamp    -> Liver fluke

 


Lead symptom: Paralysis / Central nervous disorder / circling

With all the diseases listed below cattle can be paralysed or show abnormal movement and behaviour. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Single animal affected, drooling, knuckling of hind fetlock, trying to pass faeces, bellowing ->Rabies

Coordination problems, exotic cattle affected, convulsions, froth in nostrils before death->Heartwater

Fed on poor silage, drooping ear, blind, circling, tongue hanging out, also abortions ->Listeriosis

Stiff, unable to stand up, can't swallow, flaccid tongue, slight bloat -> 3-Day Sickness (Ephemeral Fever)

Very good milker in peak lactation, sleepy, sometimes licking & biting itself, can get excited ->Ketosis

Older cow immediately after calving, too weak to stand up but trying  -> Hypocalcaemia (milk-fever)

Blindness, head pushing, aimless wandering, slowly progressing, become recumbent ->Tapeworm (cyst)

 


Lead symptom: Lamenesss

With all the diseases listed below cattle can go lame. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

 

Common causes of lameness in cattle are foot problems due to injury and lack of foot care:

->Abscess of the heal, the coronary band, the white line, the sole

-> Foreign body (stone) between the claws or penetrating the sole

->Ulcers of the sole

->Footrot (cheesy material in lesion between the claws, very smelly)

->Crack of the hoof wall

->Overgrown claws (corkscrew claw, scissor claw)

 

Infectious causes of lameness in cattle:

Drooling, erosions on tongue & gums and also between the claws -> Foot & Mouth Disease

Some unable to stand up, can't swallow, flaccid tongue, slight bloat -> 3-Day Sickness (Ephemeral Fever)

Swelling of muscle, gas under the skin (crackling sound), esp. 1 to 3 year olds -> Blackleg/Blackquarter

Drooling, knuckling of hind fetlock, trying to pass faeces, bellowing  -> Rabies

 

Diagnostic disease chart for sheep and goats

 

Diseases of Sheep & Goats in East Africa

 

Lead symptom: Died suddenly - animal(s) not seen sick before death

All the diseases below can result in sudden death of sheep & goats. The additional observations listed intend to guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Esp. young sheep affected, grazing on fresh pasture - short grass                                          ->Enterotoxaemia

Un-clotted blood oozing out, grazing in dry flood zone                                                 ->Anthrax

Bloat, uncontrolled access to grain (maize or other)                                                       ->Acidosis

Wet conditions, many ticks, often exotic sheep/goats (= European breed)        ->Heartwater

Esp. young sheep affected, abrupt change in feed                                        ->Septicaemic Pasteurellosis

Esp. young sheep in flood zone/swamp, also anaemia & bottle jaw ->Black Disease/Liver fluke

Grazing after/during rain on/near recently fertilized field                                          ->Nitrite Poisoning

Only suckling lambs and kids affected                                                                  ->Lambs and kids problems

 


Lead symptom: Coughing and/or pus coming from the nose

All the diseases below can produce respiratory signs in sheep & goats. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Only goats affected and dying, no sheep with respiratory signs                               ->CCPP

Climatic stress, all age groups of affected, mostly young animals dying ->Pneumonic Pasteurellosis

Pox lesions on head and skin, lambs & kids with respiratory disease signs ->Sheep and Goat Pox

Many sheep & goats affected, also diarrhoea, most adult goats dying!               ->PPR

Feeding normally, pus in the nose, sneezing especially in the morning ->Nasal Bot Fly

Feeding normally, chronic cough, animals kept in cool highland region ->Lung Worms

Only young animals affected                                                                                   ->Pneumonia of the young

 


Lead symptom: Diarrhoea - scouring

All the diseases below can produce diarrhoea in sheep & goats. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Rainy season, feeding normally, not putting on weight                                                 ->Round-Worms

Also respiratory signs, most adult goats dying!                                                                ->PPR

Newborn lambs/kids all dying, very strong rains, mass abortions                                           ->Rift Valley Fever

Many sheep (incl. adults) dying from acute diarrhoea, some abortions                                ->Salmonellosis

Small number affected, severe respiratory signs, sheep introduced recently ->Nairobi Sheep Disease

Only lambs and kids affected                                                                                   ->Diarrhoea of the young

Only in lambs/kids, sporadic colic, no serious scouring, flat worms ("spaghetti") in faeces ->Tapeworms

 


Lead symptom: Loosing condition and showing a rough coat

With all the diseases listed below sheep & goats can be in very poor condition. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Feeding normally, not dewormed for long, often diarrhoea                                      ->Round Worms

Pale around eyes, weak, feeding normally, sometimes diarrhoea                          ->Blood-sucking Round Worms

Bottle jaw, pale eye membranes, feeding normally, grazing in marsh / near swamp      ->Liver Fluke

Sleepy, pale membranes (around eyes), kept in humid warm lowlands with Tse-Tse flies          ->Trypanosoma

Feeding normally, dull or abnormally coloured hair coat              (pale rings around eyes)              ->Mineral deficiency

Feeding normally, dull or abnormally coloured hair coat, lambs/kids with swayback ->Copper deficiency

Ongoing severe respiratory disease problem in goat herd since weeks                                ->CCPP

Very thin, drought, animals only have access to very poor quality feed                                ->Starvation

Wet, grazing inside thicket, very high tick load                                                                 ->Tick worry

Animals irritated, rubbing/kicking the skin, poor condition, pale eye membranes->Lice (mass infestation)

Animals itching and rubbing their skin, loosing condition, bold skin with dry scabs ->Mange

 


Lead symptom: Abortion

All the diseases below can cause abortions in sheep & goats. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Many abortions, most foetuses near term, often retained placenta after the abortion               ->Brucellosis

Fresh dead lambs & kids expelled almost on term                                         ->Enzootic Abortion of Ewes

Sporadic abortions, often with retained placenta, poor herd fertility                    ->Q-Fever

Very strong rains, almost all pregnant females abort, newborns dying                                ->Rift Valley Fever

Animals were fed silage                                                                                                                            ->Listeriosis

Some sheep with severe diarrhoea, lambs dying                                                                           ->Salmonella

Sporadic abortions, dark urine, jaundice around the eyes                                          ->Leptospirosis

 


Lead symptom: Lameness & Stiffness

With all the diseases listed below sheep & goats can become stiff or go lame. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Many affected, feeding normally, loosing condition, smelly lesions on feet       ->Foot Rot

Many affected, fever, salivation                                                                                           ->Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD)

Few affected, small abscess between the claws                                                             ->Untreated injury (thorns)

Many affected and going stiff, swollen face, fever, salivation, crusts around nose                         ->Blue Tongue

Stiffness, tremors, spasms, quickly getting worse, stiff tail, animal stands like a sawbuck            ->Tetanus

 


Lead symptom: Lesions and swellings of the skin

All the diseases listed below can produce lesions and swellings on the skin in sheep & goats. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Pox lesions, scabs and crusts on lips, mouth and on the head, only in the young                             ->Orf

Pox lesions, scabs/crusts on lips head and on whole skin, pneumonia in young               ->Sheep & Goat Pox

Open wound with pus, swelling oozing pus, hot painful swelling                             ->Wounds and Abscesses

Swelling oozing smelly liquid or pus, contains small larva, attracts flies, sheep/goat very sick ->Fly Strike

Animals in poor condition, itching and rubbing, loosing hair, bold skin, loose crusts ->Mange

Itching / rubbing, loosing hair, bold/rough skin, loose crusts ONLY on limbs and scrotum ->Foot Mange

One or two lymph-glands hard and swollen, contain dry or creamy pus               ->Pseudotuberculosis

Round hairless skin lesions with crusting, sheep/goat housed together with cattle        ->Ringworm

 

 


Lead symptom: Lesions inside the mouth and on the head

All the diseases listed below can produce lesions inside the mouth, on the lips or on the skin of the head in sheep & goats. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Pox lesions, scabs and crusts on lips, mouth and head, only in the young                            ->Orf

Pox lesions, scabs/crusts on lips head and on skin, pneumonia in the young     ->Sheep & Goat Pox

Lameness, fever, salivation                                                                                       ->Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD)

Stiffness / lameness, swollen face, salivation, crusts around nose and eyes      ->Bluetongue

 


Lead symptom: Paralysis / abnormal movement & behaviour / circling

With all the diseases listed below sheep & goats can be paralysed or show abnormal movement and behaviour. The additional observations listed will guide you towards the most likely causes - but do not allow for confirmation of any particular disease. To get more information please follow links below.

 

Additional observations:

Mostly single animal affected, circling movement                                                          -> Hydatid cysts

Mostly single animal affected, paralysis (most common sign!), also hypersexual behaviour -> Rabies

Group affected, coordination problems, circling movement, paddling on side before death -> Heartwater

Group affected, fed on silage, tilted head, drooping ear, circling movement, abortions               -> Listeriosis

Lambs/kids show trembling twitching and swayback, adults with pale/dull hair ->Copper deficiency

Stiffness, tremors, spasms, quickly getting worse, stiff tail, animal stands like a sawbuck            -> Tetanus 

 

Review Process

  • Author September 2011: Dr Hugh Cran, Veterinary Practitioner, Nakuru Kenya
  • Review May 2013: Dr Mario Younan (DVM, PhD), Regional Technical Advisor for VSF-Germany, working in East Africa since 1995

 

 

Information Source Links

  • John Gilmour 1992: Making the Most of Ovine Necropsy. In Practice Journal of Veterinary Postgraduate Clinical Study, Volume 14, No 3, May. ISSN No 0263/841 X 
  • MJ Fitzpatrick 1950: Notes on Animal Diseases, The Diagnosis of Animal Diseases in the Veterinary Laboratory. Veterinary Research Laboratories, Veterinary Department Kabete, Kenya. Originally printed in the East African Agricultural Journal.
  • Blood, D-C., Radostits, O.M. and Henderson, J.A. (1983) Veterinary Medicine - A textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Horses. Sixth Edition, Bailliere Tindall London. ISBN: 0702012866

 

 

 

Last updated on:
Tue, 06/06/2017 - 16:07
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