"Draaisiekte" / Turning Disease
By Dr Mackie Hobson

Wednesday, 20th March 2019

Taenia multiceps tapeworm

‘Draaisiekte’, ‘Malkopsiekte’ or as also called in English ‘Turning disease’ does occur in Angora goats and has led to up to 15 adult goats dying over a year on a single farm (diagnosed 2018).The condition is caused by a tape worm called Taenia multiceps.

How do Angora goats pick up the tapeworm?

Dogs and Jackals are the final hosts for the tapeworm. Goats, sheep and humans are intermediate hosts. Dogs and Jackals defecate and shed tapeworm eggs into the environment. The goat then picks up the eggs while grazing or drinking contaminated water. These oncospheres hatch in the intestine of the goat and bore through the wall of the intestine to be carried away in the bloodstream all over the body. Only those that settle in the brain or spinal cord will cause the symptoms of ‘draaisiekte’ ‘malkopsiekte’.

Why do goats show different neurological signs and not just ‘draaisiekte’?

Clinical signs depend on where in the brain or spinal cord the cyst end up. Therefore turning ‘draaisiekte’, visual defects (blindness), nystagmus (flickering of eyes), abnormal gait, hyperaesthesia (oversensitivity to stimulation) and paraplegia (paralysis) are all different possibilities. The coenurus grow slowly and take months to develop and place pressure on the neurological tissue.

Some goats go into paresis (unable to stand) and eventually die.


What to do on the farm to prevent the condition developing:

  • Don’t feed the ‘offal’ of slaughtered sheep and goats to your dogs.
  • Worm your dogs (and yourselves) regularly. Check that the Jackal packs get wormed as are often the most likely source.

Treatment of infected goats

  • Praziquatel 100mg/kg once (or 50mg/kg twice)
  • Inject a steroid or anti-inflammatory or dose an aspirin twice a day
  • Vets may also use a diuretic 36hrs after the praziquantel dose at 12-24 hr intervals.

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