A goat mortality study in the southern North Island

A goat mortality study in the southern North Island
Peer reviewed


A study was undertaken to indicate the importance of different causes of death in goats and to investigate the management factors which influence these problems. Over a 15 month period, 324 dead goats were received from 67 farms in the Horowhenua, Wairarapa, Wanganui and Wellington regions. Although a wide range of diseases was encountered in the study, the major causes of mortality could be divided into 4 groups: problems directly related to management, microbial diseases, nematode parasitism, and trace element related deficiencies and toxicities. The highest proportion of deaths related directly to management problems and included deaths from hypothermia, mismothering, premature birth, ruminal acidosis, pregnancy toxaemia, trauma, and plant and chemical toxicities. In larger flocks, microbial diseases including Pasteurella pneumonia and yersiniosis were major problems. Deaths from nematode parasitism were predominantly observed in goats 12 months of age and older. White muscle disease (selenium/vitamin E deficiency) was the major trace element deficiency causing death in goats. The influence of factors including age of goat, flock size and management practices on the major causes of death are discussed.

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