Tick-borne diseases in goats and sheep

Tick-borne diseases can cause major animal losses. This week we look at how to identify heartwater.

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Tick-borne diseases are spread by the bite of an infected tick. Ticks become infected by feeding on animals that are either sick from disease, or have the parasite in their blood (making them carriers of the disease).
Disease is more likely after good rains, as there are more ticks then. Heartwater is transmitted by bont tick and can be fatal.Signs of heartwater in sick animals. A fever of 40ºC or higher.Nervousness, seen in unusual behaviour like walking into fences, circling, falling down or chewing movements.Trouble with walking, or walking in “high steps”.Convulsions, with “pedalling motions”.

Signs in dead animals
Large volumes of fluid in the belly and chest and in the sac surrounding the heart. Swelling of the brain.Fluid in the lungs and foam in the airways Next week we look at how to prevent and treat heartwater.

Source: Animal Health for Developing Farmers, from the ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute.
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