Pulpy kidney disease also known as overeating disease is a condition caused by the absorption of a large amount of toxins from the intestines. Clostridium perfringens types C & D are bacteria normally found in the soil and as part of the normal microflora in the gastrointestinal tract of a healthy sheep and goats. Under certain conditions these bacteria can rapidly reproduce in the animals producing large quantities of toxins.
The toxins cause enterocolitis (inflammation of the intestine) increase the permeability of the blood vessels and become absorbed in the blood. They circulate in the bloodstream, promoting swelling in the lungs and kidneys, giving the condition the name pulpy kidney disease.Young animals are most susceptible. Sudden and high mortality rates are concentrated in lambs and kids. Although adult animals are also susceptible to the disease they develop immunity due to frequent exposure to these toxins.
Sheep and goats are more likely to produce too much Clostridium perfringens types C & D in the gut and suffer from the disease during conditions such as the following:
- When kids and lambs excessively consume milk or feed with high quantities of grain.
- While recovering from an illness or distress; when natural immunity is compromised
- As a consequence of heavy infestations of gastrointestinal parasites, such as nematodes (worms) and coccidian.
- When animals have a diet rich in grains and low in dry matter (hay or green grass)
- When animals have any condition or disease that slows the peristalsis (motility of the gastrointestinal tract)
- Most frequent in young animals the peracute form is characterized by sudden death that occurs 12 hours after the first signs of the disease appear. Sudden death occurs only minutes after a lamb or a kid shows signs of central nervous system alteration.
- Excitement and convulsion followed by death.
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal discomfort shown by kicking at the belly and arching the back
- Profuse diarrhea (watery consistence with or without blood)
Treatment and control
- Administering C & D Antitoxin according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.Kids are normally treated with 5 mL of C & D Antitoxin subcutaneously.
- Administering penicillin.
- Orally administering an antacid.
- Administering anti-bloating medication. Reducing pain by applying Banamine (as prescribed by a veterinarian).
- Administering thiamin (vitamin B1) I.M intramuscularly.
- Replacing fluids intravenously or subcutaneously and using corticosteroids.
- Using probiotics after treatment with antibiotics to encourage repopulation of the microflora in the rumen and guts.
Vaccination procedure and protocol
- Vaccinate pregnant animals with C/D&T vaccines during the fourth month of pregnancy. This procedure will enrich the colostrum (first milky secretion produced between one and three days after birth) with antibodies (specific proteins) that will protect the newborn against pulpy kidney disease.
- All young animals should be vaccinated at four weeks of age and then 30 days later.Administer another booster dose at the time of weaning.
- Vaccinate bucks and all adult animals once a year.
- Do not vaccinate goats within 21 days before slaughter
- Vaccinate animals that appear healthy, avoid vaccinating animals sick with fever or worms. These animals may not respond well to the vaccine because their immune systems may be weakened.
- Keep good records of the herd.
- Use a new needle for each animal.
- Disinfect the injection site with alcohol.
- Avoid causing stress to the animals during vaccination.
- Handle the herd in a peaceful manner, avoid accidents and noise when working with goats.
- In case of anaphylaxis (body reaction) caused by a vaccine use epinephrine or its equivalent.
- Refer to label instructions for product use and storage before vaccinating.