J J Joubert Grootfontein, Middelburg
An article on swelling disease appeared in the March 1988 issue of the Angora Goat & Mohair Journal, which set out all the facets of this disease very well. This article provides further information regarding the origin and course of the disease.
The characteristic swelling that occurs in swelling disease is caused by a build-up of water (serum) under the skin of the goat. When the blood protein (albumin level) drops too low, water (serum) drains out of the blood and collects under the skin. There are various factors that can cause the albumin level to drop.
- Internal parasites, such as brown stomach worms, thread worm and other round worms, as well as the conical fluke and coccidiosis,
- External parasites, such as ticks and lice,
- Stress conditions, such as weaning, shearing, change of weather, change of food and competition, and
- Protein deficiency, which can be caused by under-nutrition (too little or poor quality food), insufficient intake (food too succulent or only green feed) and non-absorption (on account of damaged intestinal linings caused by coccidiosis or worms).
In addition to the preventative measures that were discussed in the previous article in the journal, the following must be kept in mind.
- If economically justifiable, try to minimise weaning shock by providing creep feeding or a lick long before weaning time and continue after weaning. Wean the kids in a camp or land with good food and then remove the ewes from the kids and not the other way around,
- Provide sufficient feed trough space so that the smaller and weaker kids can also get enough food, and
- Guard against selecting a ewe with weak constitution during breeding.
If all these guidelines are followed, the incidence of swelling disease can be reduced to a minimum.
Angora goat and Mohair journal 32 (1)