Joan S. Bowen, DVM
Several insidious diseases cause significant economic loss to sheep and goat producers through decreased longevity, growth rate, milk production and animal sales, and they are often purchased through inapparent carriers.
Both USDA and FDA classify all sheep and goats as food animals regardless of the reason that the producer chooses to maintain them.
Many sheep and goat producers are unaware of zoonotic diseases that can be passed from animals to man. Some zoonoses such as pinkeye or soremouth cause symptoms in the host animal so that the producer knows the animal is ill, but he may not realize that the disease could be transmitted to himself or his family.
Herd health programs developed by veterinarians in cooperation with producers strive to maximize health and production while decreasing the incidence of a variety of economically important diseases.
There are many causes of external lumps and masses in sheep and goats, yet many producers assume that all external masses are abscesses.