How to treat Bacterial Diseases in GOAT (I)

Major diseases affecting goats depending upon the causal organisms are classified as (A) bacterial diseases, (B) viral diseases, (c) metabolic diseases, and (d) parasitic diseases

In this article we will discuss about the various bacterial diseases that affects goats and we will take forward the discussion to the remedy of those diseases :

 Bacterial diseases

Any disease caused by the invasion of the body by a bacterium is a bacterial disease. Bacteria may enter the body alone or following insult to tissue either by viral infection trauma. or stress. Most of these diseases can be controlled by adopting antibiotic therapy.

  1. Anthrax

Anthrax is also called splenic fever and is a very serious disease of animals including goats. It is marked by high fever, severe depression, dark red to purple lining of the mouth and eyes, and sometimes bloody diarrhoea. Breathing is rapid and shallow, heart beat is rapid and weak. The goat has no appetite and its milk or urine is red or blood -tinged. The tongue, throat. flanks, and area around the anus and vulva show swelling (edema).

In the dead animal, it is common to observe blood seeping from the body openings and a lack of stiffness in the carcass. If death by anthrax is suspected, do not open the carcass (dead animal). Rather, remove one of the goats carcass, place it in a plastic bag (cooled if possible) and take it to a veterinarian for a diagnosis.

This disease is caused by Bacillus anthracis. The spores of this organism are swallowed by the animal, which changes to the vegetative form and starts growing.

The disease spreads through contaminated feed, water, pasture or through the by-products obtained from an affected animal. The disease in goats is usually peracute (kills the animal in 2 to 6 hours) or in the acute form, which takes up to 48 hours for death.

After the symptoms are fully developed, treatment is usually not effective. If an outbreak is underway, all other animals in the area should be treated and vaccinated. Treatment with tetracyclines or penicillin in large doses in proper time may save the animal.

Spread can be prevented by burning or burying the unopened dead body. If the dead body of an animal killed by anthrax is buried unopened, rotting and lack of oxygen will prevent spore formation and kill the organism. Totally burning the dead body will also destroy the organisms. Vaccination is recommended for animals in areas where anthrax occurs regularly.

  1. Brucellosis

Brucellosis is also called Dang's disease or Matta fever or contagious abortion. Affected goats show only vague symptoms including occasional mastitis, lameness of feet, or slightly loose stool. Does may abort in the final 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy. The male may show swollen joints or testicles. A blood test is the best method of diagnosing brucellosis in goats, which is usually done by a veterinarian or in a diagnostic laboratory.

The causal organism is Brucella melitensis which affect goats. The disease spreads when goats eat contaminated feed, or lick infected secretions from the reproductive organs of the infected doe. This disease also be transmitted to humans, either through infected milk or handling during birth process.

To control this, no effective treatment exists. Usual recommendations are that infected does and their kids be slaughtered for meat. The best prevention is not to buy infected animals. In some countries where infection is common, a vaccine is used to control spread of the disease.

  1. Caseous lymphadentis

This disease is also known as pseudo tuberculosis or abscesses. Swollen, abscessed lymph nodes occur most commonly under the jaw and ear, in front of the shoulder, high in the flank, or above the udder, scrotum or hock. The nodes may feel warm, and may swell to 3 to 5 cm or larger. The disease is seldom fatal. The abscesses contain a characteristic cheesy, greenish -coloured pus. Diagnosis is based on the locations of the abscesses, the character of the pus, and microscopic culture examination if available. This is a very common disease in agriculturally developed countries.

This is normally contracted when goats eat contaminated feeds. It might also be contracted through wounds in the skin.

Abscesses are treated by surgical lancing or total removal by a veterinarian. Additional treatment by administering antibiotics, usually penicillin or a tetracycline, should be continued for 3 to 5 days. This disease is difficult to prevent due to the fact that Corynebacterium (causal organism) is a very common soil contaminant. Spread can be slowed by carefully lancing abscesses and washing the wound with 7% iodine. All material from the abscess should be deeply buried or burned. A vaccine made from the organism of an infected herd has been reported as a successful prevention procedure.

  1. Chlamydial abortion

Abortion occurs late in pregnancy (usually one of the first three pregnancies). Later on deliveries are normal. Kids may be carried to full term but delivered still born (sometimes as a mummified foetus) or in a weakened condition. The doe seldom suffers any after-effect unless she gets a uterin infection from a retained foetus or after-birth. Large numbers of does in newly infested herds abort. Chlamydial abortion can be positively diagnosed only by culture of the aborted foetus or membranes or by a blood test done in laboratory.


The chlamydial abortion organism is more common in sheep but has also been reported to cause severe outbreaks of abortion among goats. It is thought that females or offspring may become infected by swallowing the organisms during the kidding season, with the organism delaying growth in the doe until late in the following pregnancy.

The use of tetracycline given intramuscularly for 5 to 7 days has been reported to help in decreasing the number of abortions by reducing the spread of the organism to uninfected goats. Feeding oral tetracycline at 110 to 165 g/metric tonne or 110 to 165 mg/kg of feed also helps to control this disease. The foetus already infected, however, will abort regardless of treatments. The best way to keep the disease from spreading is to bum or bury the dead kid and tissues from the birth process, and to isolate aborting does from the rest of the herd. In some countries a vaccine has been developed that seems to work quite well when given one month before breeding of goats.

  1. Coli bacillosis

Other names of this disease are scours diarrhoea, white scours, yellow scours, etc. Severe depression, weakness, and watery diarrhoea are symptoms of coli bacillosis. Rapid dehydration is evidenced by skin that stays up when pinched and the eyes sinking into the head. Skin is cold and clammy. Many causes of scours in kids can have the same or similar symptoms. Kids die quickly unless lost fluids and electrolytes (body salts) are restored. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms and can be confirmed by laboratory culture procedure.

The bacterium Escherichia coli causes the disease in young kids (newly born to 2 weeks) and is usually related to dirty surroundings. Outbreaks rapidly worsen unless strict sanitation procedures are begun. The organism is taken in by mouth, usually after birth. Lack of adequate colostrum usually contributes to colibacillosis.

Replace fluid loss, correct electrolyte balance and kill the organism with antibiotics. Give the kid an oral antibiotic, such as neomycin, spectinomycin, chloramphenicol, tetracyclin, or a sulfa drug at about 5-10 mg/kg of body weight, twice a day.

Kids are born with no immunity and must be fed colostrum from their mothers to become resistant to diseases. Feeding the' kid well with colostrum before it is 2 hours old will protect it until it is old enough to build its own disease defence mechanism. After the first 12 hours of life, the kids ability to absorb these antibodies decreases, and is totally resistant by the time the kid is 24 hours old. Hygeinic surroundings are also important to prevent this disease. Kids should be born in clean or unused areas, and should be kept warm and dry.

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