how would I know if my sheep have Enterotoxemia (Overeating Disease) of Sheep

Asked December 3, 2012, 11:42 AM EST

how would I know if my sheep have Enterotoxemia (Overeating Disease) of Sheep

Missouri health and diseases sheep

1 Response

The symptoms of overeating disease or enterotoxemia in sheep vary but usually the first symptom that you will see is an animal dead or near dead. The web site below has a good article about overeating disease in goats where the symptoms are similar to sheep-- http://www.goatworld.com/articles/enterotoxemia/enterotoxemia2.shtml . As indicated in the article, the symptoms are " The Type D infection is probably far more common than Type C. The latter type produces a toxin called ''Beta Toxin'' which causes intestinal necrosis and severe intestinal hemorrhage. It occurs in adult goats. 6) Epsilon toxin is produced by the Type D bacteria. It produces vascular damage and increases the permeability (openness) facilitating its own absorption. In the animals that die with neither signs nor tissue changes, an extremely large amount of toxin was absorbed very rapidly. When less toxin is produced, the animal lives longer and there is more time for clinical signs and pathological changes to develop. 7) Signs In the Peracute disease course, a baby kid may be found dead with no signs or lesions. It may occur after consuming excess feed or after sudden access to highly palatable feed or after prolonged hunger and a normal quantity of feed. 8) The Acute course of disease lasts 4-26 hours and usually ends in death. Initially the temperature may go to 105F with severe abdominal pain (the kid cries so loudly it is best described as screaming). Profuse slimy or water diarrhea will occur. Depression, wobbly gait, recumbancy (lying down on side often with head down) occur early. Convulsions often occur intermittently and may be accompanied by continuous or intermittent opisthotonos (head thrown straight over back). The animal may slip into a coma before death or die groaning or even crying. These signs occur in kids but can occur in adult milking goats from either Type C or D bacteria. 9) The Subacute disease is more apt to occur in older kids and adults. They may be ill for several days or weeks and show anorexia (refusal to eat) and intermittent severe diarrhea occasionally with epithelial shreds in the feces. They will occasionally eat and with time and appropriate treatment, they will usually recover. 10) The Chronic form is characterized by intermittent illness lasting several weeks. The goat (usually an adult) will have a dull, stary look, loose feces, an irregular appetite and, if a milker, drop in production. 11) Tissue Changes Type C is associated with acute hemorrhagic inflammation and necrosis of the mucosa of the omasum and small intestine. 12) Type D causes mild to moderate (occasionally severe) inflammation and even hemorrhage of the small intestinal mucosa. Petechial hemorrhages may be present anywhere in the body but especially on the epicardium and endocardium. The pericardial sac may contain slight excess of yellow fluid. Microscopic examination of the brain may reveal degeneration of the vascular endothelium with perivascular and intercellular edema with foci of necrosis in several subcortical areas. 13) Diagnosis The diagnosis of ''enterotoxemia'' in goats is probably overdone and is sometimes used to lump any sudden death or acute intestinal disease. The peracute and acute signs are helpful but can also occur with acute salmonellosis or intestinal torsion. Individual or first cases of salmonellosis would probably be diagnosed by post mortem bacteriological examination but if a herd problem exists the history, signs and lesions would justify a presumptive diagnosis. Intestinal torsion is an individual and uncommon event and would rarely be diagnosed ante mortem. In many cases, the case will be overeating or changes in the feed. My daughter had a lamb to die of overeating after the lamb ran against a sharp object and broke open the intestines. Sometimes a twisted gut or strangulated will cause overeating disease. I hope that this respond answers your question. If not, please let me know. You might also have your local county extension agent come to look at your animal if you think that it might have overeating disease. Best wishes!!! Jodie