to the purchaser. • Vaccination. There are multiple ap-

proved CL vaccines available to producers. Vaccination will not cure a CL positive ani- mal though. It can help reduce future posi- tives in currently negative stock. Vaccination, coupled with keen observation of known positive stock, can — in time — eradicate the disease from herds and flocks. Vaccination can lead to false positive blood tests. If you plan to test and purchase live- stock be sure to ask if a producer vaccinates for the disease. • Disinfect shared equipment and

housing. While the risks of transmission may be low in some cases, disinfecting drench guns, syringes and other shared equipment should always be a priority. Al- though external abscesses are more com- mon, internal abscesses in goats are not impossible. When an internal abscess is in- volved, the bacteria can be spread through nasal secretions if the abscess is in the lungs. Additionally, disinfect any locations where purulent material from abscesses may have gotten into the environment


When prevalence of disease or value of animal makes prevention alone insuffi- cient, producers must take a treatment ap- proach. • Quarantine. All animals with ab- scesses should be quarantined away from the herd immediately. • Monitoring and handling. Once the animal is in quarantine, all abscesses should be closely monitored. Abscesses will in- crease in size, lose hair and ultimately burst. No abscess should be left to burst on its own!

• Lancing and treatment. When an abscess starts to lose hair, immediate treat- ment is necessary by a vet or a well versed producer. This disease is zoonotic and there- fore can be spread to persons if handled in- correctly. Personal Protective Equipment is a necessity. Using a scalpel, the abscess must be opened and all puss carefully drained and collected. Once the puss is drained the abscess should be thoroughly flushed with iodine and the area surround- ing it carefully cleaned. The collected puss should always be tested to confirm CL in- fection and then destroyed to prevent acci- dental exposure to other livestock or persons. The now-opened and thoroughly cleaned wound should remain open and al- lowed to drain naturally. • Reintroduction to the general pop- ulation. Only after the wound has com-

10 Goat Rancher | September 2020

pletely healed should positive goats be re- introduced into the herd. Introduction sooner can lead to other animals becoming exposed to the disease and further infec- tions.


Culling is a guaranteed method of eliminating the disease. Culling may be a very effective management approach in the following examples. • When a singular animal is affected in a herd previously considered free of the dis- ease; culling the affected animal is often the simplest approach. • When a known positive animal re- peatedly throws new abscesses, reducing their productive ability. • When the animal has minimal eco- nomic worth and the costs of treatment or the risks of further exposure are high. • When other management approaches have failed and additional new cases are continuing to rise.

• • •

Keeping a clean herd can be difficult, especially if you are purchasing animals from other farms. It is important, however ,that each producer work diligently to eradicate and control diseases like Caseous lymphade- nitis — not only for their bottom lines but also for the safety of the industry as a whole. It may be difficult at times to manage but the disease is one worth fighting against. If your herd has a problem or you want to prepare preventatively, take time to set up a manage- ment plan with your veterinarian today. If we all work together in this industry, we can cohesively improve our herds and the value of our end products.

(Gregory Meiss raises Boer goats and is head nutritionist for his family’s company, Meiss Feed and Supply, Sibley, Ill. He can be contacted at 217-379-7985, through Face- book: Meiss Boer Goats or by e-mail at

Ancient cross-species breeding gave modern goats their

iron stomachs By Elizabeth Pennisi

Goats are one tough breed, surviving Atlantic Ocean crossings with Christopher Columbus and the Mayflower’s pilgrims — and tolerating everyday perils from drought to parasites. Now, research has uncovered the origins of their hardiness: Some ancient hanky panky with a wild goat cousin gave the domesticated species (Capra aegagrus hircus) a gene that protects against parasitic worm infections. That gene joined others to help make goats among the first animals to be do- mesticated.

The finding underscores the importance of interbreeding with wild populations in the early days of domestication, says Melinda Zeder, an emeritus anthropological archae- ologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s Na- tional Museum of Natural History, who was not involved with the work. “It gives us a les- son about how domesticated crops and live- stock were able to disperse as widely as they did.”

Many researchers consider goats to be the first animals domesticated—11,000 years ago in the ancient Fertile Crescent. Today, they supply more of the world’s milk than all the dairy cows combined. Research- ers know humans first corralled the domes- tic goat’s wild ancestor, most likely a bezoar (C. aegagrus) in both Turkey and Iran, but exactly what transpired between then and now has been a mystery. Jiang Yu, an animal geneticist at North-

west A&F University, and an international team sequenced the genomes of 88 domestic goats from around the world, six wild goat species, and four goat fossils. They compared their data with previously gathered genomic information about 131 other domesticated, wild and ancient goats to determine which parts of the goat genome were important to domestication.

One gene, MUC6, seemed particularly

important. Today, almost every domestic goat has a version of the MUC6 gene that came from a wild goat called the West Caucasian tur, Jiang and colleagues reported. Working backward, the team calculated that the tur version of this MUC6 gene entered the goat genome 7,200 years ago, likely through interbreeding.

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