Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chapter 2 Journey with the Barber Pole Worm through its Life Cycle

Unfortunately, internal parasites are a fact of life when you raise goat or any form of livestock. The negative impact Internal parasites have on your goats will depend on:

· The number of adults in the intestinal tract, the number of eggs laid and the number of infective larvae ingested by the host

· immune status of host

· the age of the host

· the nutritional status of the host

· the time of the year

· the nature of the parasites migration

· where they live as adults

· how they obtain their food from the host

· the deworming strategies used by the producer

· the parasites resistance to the dewormer used

· the environmental conditions

· pasture and browse management

Over the centuries and through evolution parasites have developed a very complex relationship with their host. They have adapted to survive within the intestinal tract and outside the body. Within the body and intestinal tract they are exposed to destructive antibodies, concentrated acids in stomach, digestive enzymes, changes in pH, and numerous bacteria, fungi, and protozoa that make up the intestinal environment. They have also developed resistance to the drugs used to kill them.

Outside the body they have adapted to changes in the climate, and. periods of starvation. It is little wonder that the parasites have survived man's attempt to eliminate them at best we can only control them.

Internal parasites come in all shapes ranging from a microscopic single cell organism (coccidia) to visible complex multicellular organisms, like flukes, the barber pole worms, and tapeworms.

To better understand life cycle and survival of these parasites I would like to take you on a journey as you travel with a parasite through its lifecycle within the external environment and the host. Parasites either have a direct life cycle or require more than one host in order to complete its lifecycle.

Direct life Cycle of the Nematode Worm A Personal Adventure

Hi my name is Barbara Pole my family is the Barber Pole Worm Family Haemonchus contortus I started my life as an egg laid by my mother within the intestinal tract of my host. I, along with my many siblings leave the intestinal tract safe within a fecal pellet. Over a short period of time I hatch into a first stage larvae during this stage I eat the microorganisms I find in the feces and the soil eventually I mature into a second stage larvae as I grow must shed a protective outside membrane called the cuticle. I continue to eat the microorganisms I find in my environment and soon have grown into a third stage larvae. At this stage I discover that I did not shed the cuticle in fact I've developed another cuticle that seems to be inhibiting my ability to eat. It is time to find another place to live. Every morning I travel up a blade or moist grass waiting for a goat to eat me. As the sun gets hotter and the grass dries out I retreat back down to the cooler ground. I must wait for another day. I must find a host within the next few months, so long as the grass remains long and air humid. As soon as winter comes, I will likely starve and freeze to death.

Finally I am eaten with the help of digestive enzymes in my host’s rumen, I lose my cuticle and turn into the a four stage larvae. Finally I reach the abomasum where I feast on organisms living on the surface of the stomach and small intestines. If I am eaten in the fall I may rest at this stage until the spring. In the spring, hungry from my winter’s fast ,I mature along with my many siblings and settle into the stomach lining and dine on the blood of my host. Unfortunately if there are too many of us we cause great distress and perhaps even death to our host by taking too much blood.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Making Hay while the sun shines???

I never thought I would say, "Here comes the rain again, and again and again. What is this going to do to the hay crop? Good quality hay is a staple in western Canada for goats. Hay cut now will no doubt be rained on at least a couple of times; this reduces the quality and palatability dramatically. Protein digestibility will be reduced, Vitamin E and Vitamin A will leach out, and mould will reduce palatability. Moulds and bacteria feed on the nutrients of the hay as it lies in the swath decreasing the energy value. If the hay is left uncut waiting for, an opportune time the maturity will increase making it less palatable and the protein and energy levels will decrease. I f the hay growth is lush some of the trace minerals may not be taken up by the plant. The length of the rainfall and the timing of the rain after cutting can affect hay quality. Rain just after cutting is less harmful than a rain just prior to baling. A long steady rain leaches fewer nutrients out than an intense short downpour of equal amounts of rain. One rain shower of about 1 inch on hay during curing can cause yield losses of greater than 5 percent, reduce total digestible nutrients by 5 to 6 percent and reduce dry-matter intake by 8 to 9 percent.

Because of the unpredictable nature of our weather, the future of second cut hay and the green feeds harvested from cereal crops cannot be determined. However, it never hurts to plan ahead. This planning includes calculating the number of goats and groups of goats you anticipate feeding over the winter. With that information and what their nutrient requirements are, you can calculate how much feed plus a percentage you will need for the winter. If you are putting up your own hay or green feed, a nutrient analysis on properly taken and submitted samples is essential. Once this information is collected you can develop a feeding program, and purchase necessary supplements. The key to any successful feeding program is to plan. If you have to purchase forages then now is the time to start looking for them. Hopefully, you will not have to go too far afield and that you can trust the individual you are purchasing them from. Prior to purchasing the forages, you should have information about the quality of the forage and a guarantee from the seller that the forages delivered will be consistent with that information.

The following are links to some excellent Articles on forage quality and preservation:

1) Schroeder J W 2010 Rain can reduce hay quality

2) Vough L.R. Evaluating hay quality Fact Sheet 644 Maryland Cooperative Extension.

This is an excellent paper on evaluating hay quality

3) Friesen G Using Preservatives and Drying Agents to Improve Hay Quality.

4) Marketing Hay

5) High Quality Hay Management

6) Maryland Small Ruminant page

7) Thomas Heather Smith. Hay and Feeding Advise for Livestock

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Johne's Disease

Johne’s disease (paratuberculosis) is a chronic contagious disease affecting primarily the small intestines of ruminants, found worldwide.

Cause: A bacterium Mycobacterium avium SS. Paratuberculosis. (MAP)

Primary Source: The feces of infected goats

Other Sources: Milk and in utero

Cattle and sheep

Age Infected: Any ages but kids in their first month after birth are most susceptible and are the ones most likely to develop clinical signs later in life

Route of Infection: Oral. Kids within a few days of birth start to eat feces as a means of establishing the normal flora in their gastrointestinal tract. Along with the good bugs, they can pick up harmful ones. Although the organism is very hearty it cannot replicate outside the body, but in the feces it is resistant for several months to heat, cold and drying.

Clinical Symptoms:

Rapid to chronic weight loss, terminally the goat may develop diarrhea. These symptoms occur primarily in adults it is rare to see on the disease in kids under a year of age. Another classical symptom is the animal continues to eat well. Most of the other chronic wasting disease such as the scrapie and caseous lymphadenitis result in weight loss and the poor appetite. Bottle Jaw (oedema under the jaw) has been seen in severely affected goats.

Postmortem Findings:

The intestinal tract (ileum) involved will be thickened and the associated lymph nodes enlarged. This is called a granulomatous enteritis and interferes with the ability of the gastrointestinal tract absorb nutrients.

Morbidity and mortality:

In endemic herds only a minority develop clinical signs, the mortality rate is approximately 1% with up to 50% of the herd as asymptomatic carriers

Human Risks

Research has found there may be a link to Crohn’s disease.

Prevention and Control

Purchasing Goats:

At the time of purchase, the goat may appear normal, so it is important to be very thorough in investigating the herd the goat is from. This entails looking at the records of the herd, inspecting the herd itself. in addition,you must ask many questions of the owner. Ask If the owner has a high cull rate of mature animals, if yes, you should explore the reasons why? You should also investigate the pedigree of the goat you are purchasing and to ask if the mother, grandmother and daughters are still in the herd. If they are not and you should find out what happened to them. If the owner is unwilling to supply this information to you then I would advise you not to purchase the goat. Most experienced producers know whether they have the disease are not.

Diagnostic testing is done to:

· determine if the disease is present or not

· determine the extent of the infection

Your veterinarian can help you and you may want to visit the following website




Two types of diagnostic tests are available:

1) Organism based tests:

a) Culture: This test isolates the organism if it is present within the environment or the feces. Unfortunately, the organism is very slow to grow and the culture may not show any organism for up to two months of incubation. Samples can be taken from the environment, the soil, water, individual animals or several animals collectively.

b) PCR: This test looks at the genetic material in the organism and not the organism itself. This test has only been validated in cattle

2) Antibody based tests This is an indirect test, which measures the level of antibodies in blood or milk.

a) Eliza test designed to test a large number of samples. Only one test has been validated in United States for sheep and goats

b) Agar Gel Immuno Diffusion test (AGID) looks for antibodies in the blood the results are reported as negative, positive, or suspect. Correlates well with fecal load and fecal shedding


Have AGID tests done on all goats on an annual basis. Cull all positive animals or consider other options. All infected animals should be identified and managed in such a way that their feces do not contaminate the environment or the water. Most effective way of doing this is slaughtering the goat as soon as the first symptoms appear.

Control involves protecting newborn kid from infection this is accomplished by feeding the milk (colostrum) that does not contain the organism, and keeping the environment free of contaminated feces and water

Monday, July 5, 2010

Humorous Stories about Goats-The Amusing Goat

Starting a blog is like having a baby. You know at conception this will change your life, but you don't know how. When you feel the first movements you know the child is alive but is it normal?At the moment of birth you feel relief, elation yet apprehension about were the future take you both. I have had little experiences with blogs like raising a child, so the only help I can get is if you the reader contributes.You can do this by asking questions, responding to issues, or just sharing any stories you have about your goats. Don't be shy!