Full text found here: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20120726/NEWS01/307260055/Potter-Park-Zoo-euthanizes-goats-after-devastating-disease?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE&gcheck=1&nclick_check=1
LANSING — An infectious disease that afflicts hooved
animals prompted the Potter Park Zoo to euthanize its goat herd in May,
the zoo confirmed Thursday.
goats contracted Johne’s Disease, which causes a gradual thickening of
the lining of the intestine and eventually leads to death, the zoo said.
The animals were put down to keep them from suffering and to prevent
the disease from spreading to other zoo animals, it said.
we discovered they were infected, we basically had to put them to sleep
so they would not suffer,” said Tara Harrison, the zoo’s veterinarian
and curator. “We caught it early enough that none of the other animals
in the zoo were infected.”
six goats were in the petting zoo exhibit and have since been replaced
by seven baby goats that came from a farm free of Johne’s disease,
or mycobaterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP), is hard to detect and
afflicts cattle, deer, sheep, goats and other ruminants, according to
information on a Michigan State University College of Veterinary
Medicine Web page.
Animals typically contract the disease at a young age, but don’t show symptoms for several years.
is common in goats and cattle and is present in 60 to 70 percent of the
state’s goat herds, Harrison said. It can take up to three months to
determine whether an animal is infected using the most reliable test for
the disease, she said.
said the zoo had been managing the problem over the past year, testing
each animal individually and euthanizing them when they tested positive.
Toward the end, all of the remaining goats tested positive and were put
down, she said.
don’t like to euthanize animals, but it was the most humane thing to
do,” the vet said. “It was the best thing to do for the goats and the
best thing to do for all of the animals here at the zoo.”
zoo took extraordinary measures to prevent the disease from spreading
to other animals, scorching the earth to kill bacteria, replacing the
top three inches of soil and disinfecting the barn with bleach, she
Also, staff who care for the goats do not care for any of the other hooved animal species, she said.
zoo’s other hooved residents include the critically endangered black
rhino, Bactrian camel, eastern bongo and scimitar-horned oryx, along
with llamas, donkeys and yaks.
The new goats are a pygmy breed and a cross of the pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf breeds, Harrison said.
“We fully intend to keep them here for their entire lives,” she said.