Biosecurity on the Angora Goat farm
By Dr Mackie Hobson

Monday, 6th April 2020

Some farmers are often unaware of the risk that a lack of biosecurity poses to their Angora flocks. We often think of diseases such as Foot and Mouth (FMD) as being a problem in the Northern provinces so really not a concern to us, remember this can change overnight!

Biosecurity is not just about the ‘big diseases’ but involves keeping many costly conditions away from your farm.

The implementation of a biosecurity protocol and biosecurity area does not involve much.

Establish a quarantine area on the farm

  1. All cloven hooved animals should be quarantined at least 100 meters away

from the  rest of the animals on your farm for 21 days.

  1. Each producer must have a demarcated biosecurity area on his farm with a designated access point.
  2. A station must be in place where vehicles can be cleaned before entry into the biosecurity area, away from where goats can be effected by any infection washed off.
  3. Vehicles entering your farm should not park near areas where your animals have access. So visiting ‘bakkies’ should not drive up and park at your shearing shed as so often happens.
  4. A loading site must be away from your goats and they must not get access to this area.
  5. Producers should keep a logbook of vehicles and identification of animals arriving on the farm.

What should I do with new goats arriving on my farm?

  1. Quarantine the goats for 21 days. Certain diseases have longer incubation periods that make their control difficult but diseases with shorter incubation periods may be prevented from being introduced.
  2. Examine the goats.
  3. Collect a faecal sample for a faecal egg count by your vet. If they need treating then it is a good time to use one of the ‘top gun’ anthelmintic (doses) treatments. Then take another faecal sample 10-14 days after dosing to ensure they are clean and are not introducing resistant roundworms onto your farm.
  4. Treat the goats for lice and ticks (ensure the goats are clean after treatment).
  5. If you have bought in ewes and are concerned about the introduction of enzootic abortion then a blood sample for Chlamydia can be checked. Otherwise keep these ewes separate until after kidding (abortions usually occur in the maiden ewes in a flock infected with Enzootic abortion for the first time). If you are buying rams consider getting a breeding soundness exam.
  6. Check the vaccination status of the goats before arrival on the farm
  7. We should all be requesting a vendor declarations when buying livestock. For example see Johne’s disease vendor declaration on the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF)



Other points of importance:

  1. Ensure shearing teams clothing is ‘clean’ and their shears have been disinfected before shearing starts on your farm
  2. Know where your feed is coming from
  3. Don’t forget the plants that can be introduced onto your farm such as ‘Boetebos’ (xanthium spinosum) and jointed cactus attached in the mohair.


Luckily Angora goat farmers have been free from a number of diseases, but this does not mean we should be complacent. Disease control in South Africa is declining so it is vital that we look after ourselves and prevent the introduction of diseases onto our farms and into the industry.

What are the diseases that can be introduced onto the farm - what incubation periods are involved?

Diseases with shorter incubation periods (less than 3 weeks) potentially causing disease can be detected in the quarantine period, some of the longer incubations periods (abortions for example) would require ewes being kept in separate flock until after kidding or alternatively tested.

  • Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) (2-14 days)
  • Opthalmia caused by Moraxella or Chlamydophila (3-21 days). The frustration of treating and controlling the spread of ‘infectious opthalmia’  when introduced onto the farm is enough reason to follow a quarantine procedure.
  • Footrot (3-4 days) but may also remain dormant until conditions faour its development. (Goats introduced from lands and moist environments)
  • Orf (2-6 days)
  • Heartwater (average 14 days), is transmitted by the ‘bont tick’ (Amblyomma) and potentially carried both by introduced goats or ticks. The Amblyomma tick may also be carried by kudu, water hogs, hares, guinea fowl and tortoises.
  • Necrotic Balanoposthitis also known as sheath rot, pizzle rot or vulvitis (5-6 days). This is caused by Corynebacterium renale.
  • Pasteurella (less than 7 days)
  • Blue tongue, Wesselsbron, Rift Valley Fever and other mosquito/midge transmitted viruses (less than 7 days).
  • Red and blue lice . Eggs carried on fleece or clothing hatch in 9-18 days
  • Roundworms (Wireworm and brown stomach worm ) (18-21 days)
  • Coccidiosis (2-3 weeks)
  • Conical and Liver Fluke from lands and moist areas - particularly orange and Fish river schemes (70 days)
  • Abortions -Enzootic abortion (Chlamydia),

Brucella Melitensis , Q fever -Coxiella burnetii Although rare may result in abortions (hence keeping ewes separate)

  • Abscess (25-140 days to develop) Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (caseous lymphadenitis) Corynebacterium pyogenes now called Trueperella pyogenes. Make sure the shearers disinfect their shears on arrival.


  • Cryptosporidiosis (2-7 days), usually young kids brought in from intensive production systems


  • Dermatophilus congolensis- causing hair loss.


  • Mange- Demodectic Mange - (D caprae), in which it causes non-pruritic papules and nodules in goats, especially over the face, neck, shoulders, and sides.

Chorioptic Mange Chorioptes caprae can occur in goats. Papules and crusts are seen on the feet and legs.

Remember Sheep-scab, psoroptic mange, “scab”, “brandsiekte” is caused by a mite Psoroptes ovis and does NOT affect goats but they can be potential mechanical carriers. (Can survive 17 days off sheep)


  • Ringworm ‘Omlope’


  • Mastitis ‘Blue Udder’ ‘blou-uier’ Causes of infection: Manneheimia haemolytica, Staphylococcus aureus, Trueperella pyogenes, Corynebactrium pseudotuberculosis.


  • Rabies –(1-5 days)


Then there are disease that have the potential of being introduced?:

  • Maedi-visna or also called Ovine Progressive Pneumonia or Graaff-Reinet disease
  • Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), also known as ‘goat plague’ or ‘ovine rinderpest’, is a viral disease of goats and sheep although other ruminants can be infected (3-6 days)
  • Johne’s is caused by Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) and any ruminant species is susceptible. Johne’s disease can therefore potentially be a threat to the Angora goat. The disease has however not been diagnosed in Angora goats in South Africa and it is primarily a sheep health problem.

Quarantine is probably the most effective way of limiting the chance of introduction of disease onto your farm. Ideally it would be great if goats were treated for ectoparasites, dosed and vaccinated before their arrival but that is often not the case.

The quarantine procedure does take some time and management but goes a long way to prevent losses and frustration that comes with the introduction of disease and parasites onto your farm

Dr Mackie Hobson




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