is a disease of sheep and goats that destroys their brains. The
disease came from Great Britain in 1947. It kills the brain cells of sheep so that they can not get up
to eat and drink. Animals that have scrapie will rub against things
and scrape off their wool or hair. This scraping by the animals is what led to
the naming of the disease. Currently there is no cure for scrapie,
sheep that get the disease always die.
get the disease from other sheep or where lambing has occurred. Scientists
believe that sheep primarily get scrapie during lambing. Humans cannot
takes a long time for scrapie to make sheep sick, typically 2 to 5
years. When they first get scrapie it is often difficult to tell if
they have the disease. They do not show many signs at first. You have
to watch them closely and wait to see if they get worse. Some symptoms
of scrapie include: Stepping high with their front feet, hopping like
a rabbit, shaking, swaying, stumbling, smacking their lips, and frequent
the past, you used to have to wait for the sheep to die and then test
their brains to determine if they had scrapie. Today, scientists are
working on a new test so that you do not have wait that long. It is
possible for veterinarians take a small part of the third eyelid
and test it for scrapie. This test can help sheep owners identify
and stop the spread of the disease earlier.
prevent scrapie, a flock owner needs to remove sick sheep from the
flock and keep the lambing area clean. After each lambing the flock
owner should pick up afterbirth, change the bedding,clean the area
and use bleach on the fences and ground. Very strong bleach or lye
can kill scrapie. Ask the people who sell sheep if they are in the
Scrapie Certification Program or if they have ever had scrapie. A good plan would be to buy sheep only from scrapie certified flocks.
more information contact your 4-H leader, County Extension Agent, or Veterinarian.