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Acute Pasteurella Pneumonia in Goats and Sheep

The most common cause of pneumonia in goats and sheep are Pasteurella multocida and P. hemolytica. It is an acute disease causing extreme debilitation and often death. It occasionally has a systemic form in which the gastro-intestinal tract is the other primarily involved system.

Pneumonia in lung of a lamb. The dark red areas (left side of image, marked by small white arrows) are firm due to pus cells in alveolar spaces. Because bacterial pneumonias tend to arrive via the major airways, they tend to settle out in the front bottom (= "antero-ventral") portions of the lung.

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The most common cause of pneumonia in goats and sheep are Pasteurella multocida and P. hemolytica type A. Pneumonia is one of the most common respiratory problems in small ruminants throughout the world. In goat herds, pneumonia increases production costs associated with expensive treatments. Although pneumonia often occurs in kids, illness and deaths also occur in adult animals. Pneumonia occurs when infectious and non-infectious agents cause the lungs of goats to become inflamed. The most frequent causes of respiratory infection and death are Pasteurella multocida or Mannheimia haemolytica (previously called Pasteurella haemolytica). P. multocida and M. haemolytica are commonly found in the upper respiratory tract of healthy goats. M. haemolytica are subdivided in two groups, A and T. Type A is most prevalent and is associated with a severe form of pneumonia. Goats that survive an acute stage may recover or become chronically infected with reduced lung capacity. Pneumonia caused by P. multocida and M. haemolytica can lead to significantly decreased growth performance. These two pathogens (agents that cause disease) cause outbreaks of acute pneumonia in goats of all ages. Respiratory infections from these pathogens are associated with poor management practices, occur as a secondary infection, or occur as a consequence of severe stress. Transportation stress, viral infections (e.g., parainfluenza-3 virus), lung parasites, prior bacterial infections, overcrowded pens, poor housing conditions, sudden environmental changes, and other stressful conditions increase goats' susceptibility to P. multocida and M. haemolytica pneumonias. Bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections break down goats' tissue defense barriers. Loss of this natural protection increases the goat's susceptibility to secondary infection by P. multocida and M. haemolytica. Animals whose lungs are already weakened from previous diseases will suffer from leukotoxins and lipopolysaccharides, both potent toxins that, in high levels, promote inflammation and severe lung damage. In kids, acute outbreaks can occur with low morbidity rates but high mortality rates. Typically, several kids that appear healthy die suddenly. Signs of the disease may not be noticed until later, after several animals have died.
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