Veterinary Services for Sheep and Goats
Nanango Country Veterinary Services consult with our sheep and goat producers to improve and maintain appropriate herd health. The district is no longer popular for large flocks of fleece sheep such as merinos due to grass seed infestations and flies. However, the number of meat sheep is increasing. Also both milk and fleece goats are quite popular in the region. Apart from grass seed issues and fly strike, other issues we routinely see in sheep and goats include footrot or other lameness issues, anaemia and low pregnancy or weaning rates.
Kathy, our principal vet, has previously run a very successful AI program on Boer goats in the district and is available to assist with reproduction programs in both goat and sheep flocks.
Worms and Coccidia
Worms and coccidia infestations are a huge problem, particularly for young sheep and goats when it is warm, wet or humid climate. Signs of worm infestation include: pale mucous membranes (vulva, mouth, eye), bottle jaw (swelling under the jaw), weight loss, distended abdomen, scouring and poor fleece and/or sudden death. Coccidia may display as collapse, tummy pain and/or bloody diarrhoea, though sudden death with no prior symptoms can also occur.
Worm infestation is worsened by over stocking – the more animals per acre, the higher the number of worm eggs on the pasture, the closer they graze to the ground, the more worms they take in. Small paddocks with regular rotations and possibly rotating cattle through the paddock before the flock can help to reduce the paddock worm burdens.
Goats are even more susceptible than sheep to worms as they develop no natural immunity. They are also designed to eat off scrub and bushes rather than eat off the ground. Feeding goats either in troughs or feeding bins is strongly recommended rather than placing feed on the ground. This can assist to reduce worm infestations considerably.
Picking up faeces as quickly as possible will also drastically reduce the amount of worms that sheep and goats ingest. For intensive herds on smaller areas, there are poo vacuum machines available for purchase on the market.
5 in 1 (a vaccine containing the 5 clostridial diseases) is the primary vaccine for sheep and goats. This is given twice one month apart and then annually. The vaccine is easily affordable and available in commercial packs. Other vaccines are also available – speak with your vet about which ones are most useful to you.