reindeer housed near other livestock

Asked January 15, 2018, 8:49 PM EST

Hello! I currently raise sheep, and an exploring the possibility of acquiring a few reindeer. I understand though, that reindeer suffer from parasites that sheep carry, and that they should not be housed near each other. Is there any sort of solution/inoculation that could remedy this? Do reindeer have the same issues with goats?

Clearfield County Pennsylvania

1 Response

I sent a note to a Penn State Extension veterinarian, and received the answer below from him:

I don’t know of any case reports but do believe that reindeer like other cervids are susceptible to meningeal worm but they won’t get it from the sheep. I don’t think they share the same parasites but would be concerned about Hemonchus. As for other diseases there may be a potential for sheep to share Pasteurella or Manheimia which are respiratory pathogens and cause nasty disease in bighorn sheep and other wild cervids.

The Haemonchus that he references above is an internal parasite common to both sheep and goats that causes anemia. You can prevent problems through good grazing management practices and can treat with deworming products.

One of the keys to maintaining healthy animals is good nutrition. You should be able to meet their nutritional needs through forages, supplemental grain if needed, and a good salt/mineral mix. Sheep have a lower copper requirement that most livestock, so you may need to keep the two species separate to best meet their mineral requirements. I am not familiar with reindeer production, so am not sure how their mineral requirements compare with sheep.