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Home Q & A What Causes Goats To Have A Tendency To Rotate In Circles Without Eating?

What Causes Goats To Have A Tendency To Rotate In Circles Without Eating?

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Those are symptoms of listeriosis. It is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and is commonly seen in cooler climates. These bacteria can be found in the soil, food sources, and even the feces of healthy animals. Most commonly, this disease of sheep and goats is observed as a result of feeding moldy or spoiled hay or silage. It is possible for your sheep and goats to become infected without feeding moldy or spoiled hay or silage as it is found in the environment.

The bacteria are very hardy and are common in soil. 

Silage not fermented (not acidified) properly, put up too dry or not compacted tight enough to protect it from the air, 

Round bales of hay that have started to rot,

Feed bunks that are not cleaned regularly and in which some feces and wet feed leftover accumulate and ferment rotting (decaying) woody debris, manure, milk, urine and drainage of the eyes and nose of infected animals.

Environmental and fecal contamination are more common sources of the disease than silage in sheep and goats because most are never fed silage. This is because the feeds will get spoilt before they can be consumed and possible listeriosis infections can result.

Symptoms of listeriosis include depression, loss of appetite, fever, lack of co-ordination, salivation, facial paralysis, and circling. The disease is more common in animals 1-3 years of age than it is in older animals. 

The abortion form of listerosis usually shows no other symptoms and can only be diagnosed by laboratory analysis. The onset of this infection is usually very fast and causes death in 24-48 hours after symptoms appear.

Symptoms include circling in one direction, high fever, lack of appetite, red tissues around the eyes, usually with blindness, and depression. Affected animals may have a droopy ear, drooping eyelid, and saliva running from limp lips on one side of the face caused by a partial paralysis. When near death, the animal will lie down and may have convulsions.

A diagnosis can only be confirmed in a diagnostic laboratory but isolation of the organism can be difficult.

Recovery is rare, but is possible with early aggressive antibiotic treatment and supportive care of the affected animals. There are no effective treatments for small ruminants, and they usually die after infection. Large doses of oxytetracycline or penicillin G may help in some cases.

Heart water is an infectious, noncontagious, tick-borne disease of domestic and wild ruminants, including cattle, sheep and goats. 

Sick animals may have a fever of 40°C or higher. You may also notice strange behaviour, such as twisting the head towards the body. Other symptoms include a high-stepping walk, convulsions or very hard kicking. Animals that die from heartwater often have foam and fluid coming out of the nose, circling etc. a higher dosage of oxytetracycline (20 mg/kg) is usually required if treatment when clinical signs are evident. Consult a Veterinarian to help you diagnose these issues better.

Answered by Grace Bwogi, goat farmer and goat farming trainer

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