Sunday, October 23, 2011

Alberta Goat Producer's Questions Answered

Answers to Questions Asked at the Alberta Goat Producers Meeting in Leduc Alberta August 2011

How can we recognize Johne’s disease?

Johne’s disease is a chronic disease, which is transmitted to kids through their infected mother’s manure or that of other infected goats in close proximity who may be shedding the bacteria. The first sign you may see is weight loss, despite a good appetite. She may have intermittent loose manure. The symptoms often become worse right after kidding. The doe is usually mature but Johne’s can occur in animals just over a year of age and can also be seen in bucks. You may initially suspect internal parasites and deworm and see no response. Eventually she will become very thin and develop a fluid non-painful swelling under the skin below her jaw, at this time she may have diarrhea.

Johne’s because of its long incubation period and the fact that goats can shed the organism in their manure without being or before becoming clinically can make this a difficult disease to eliminate from your goats unless you are prepared to do some major culling.
Advise to New Goat producers:
·        Plan to maintain a  closed herd, bringing in only those goat you know the farm of origin, you have seen their goats , their production records and their daily herd management records
·        Never buy a goat from the auction market, unless you are prepared to keep two separate groups: the clean and the auction Market  specials
·        If purchasing a group from a dispersal sale, check the records “no herd records no sale”
·        Word of mouth is not good enough only the cold true facts should be followed
·        If you are bringing in bucks check his maternal history, is his mother still on the farm, are his siblings still there if not where are they.

Caseous Vaccination:

For a detailed paper on this topic go to There are no vaccines available in Canada for CL in goats. An autogenous vaccine made specifically from the bacteria infecting your goats is your only option, plus proper hygiene when dealing with the problem. Again, CL is a disease if you are careful you do not need to bring on your farm, by following the advice above. An effective control programme must include reduced exposure to contaminated materials associated with a ruptured or lanced abscess. 


The Alberta Goat Breeders Association and The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, supported by the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada have published a Biosecurity Best Practices Pocket Guide. This is an excellent easy to use guide covering the actions, precautions, and the protocols to protect your goats from disease through physical barriers and proper hygiene.
For more information, please call 310-FARM or toll free at 403-742-7901 or consult the Bio-Security (Farm Service Provider) Web site.

Fecal Egg Counts

This is a link to an excellent presentation on parasite control The special Mc Master slides can be purchased from