Research Summary - 4

A comparison study of common concerns and diseases of the small ruminant producer

Date/Time: 9/26/2020    11:15
Author: Taylor  Mittleider
Clinic: Lincoln Memorial University
City, State, ZIP: Harrogate, TN  37752

J. Roberson, DVM, PhD, DACVIM(LA) 1 ; T. Mittleider, BS 1 ; N. Cameron-Blake, DVM 2 ; P. Gibbons, BVetMed(Hons) MS MRCVS DACVIM(LA) DipVetEd 1 ; B. Cappiello, BA, MA 1 ; T. Wilson, BS 1 ;
1Lincoln Memorial University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Harrogate, TN 37752
2Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Basseterre, St. Kitts


Limited research has been published on the common concerns of small ruminant producers and their management practices. The problems affecting producers may differ depending on geographic location, economy and culture.
The purpose of this study was to identify and compare the most important concerns and diseases among the small ruminant producers of St. Kitts and the Appalachia.

Materials and Methods:

Materials and Methods
Fifty small ruminant producers on the island of St. Kitts and 51 in the Appalachia region surrounding Harrogate, Tennessee participated in this non-randomized study. A questionnaire was administered on the farm regarding herd and flock management and concerns. Information gathered included, but was not limited to, nutrition, marketing, reproduction, major issues and diseases experienced. Chi square test of independence was used for between subject tests and Chi square goodness of fit for within subject tests. Simple descriptive statistics were also utilized to analyze the data.


The four greatest concerns of small ruminant producers on St. Kitts (of which there was no significant difference among the top four) were dog attack (50%), improving genetics (36%), obtaining medications (35%) and theft (30%). In contrast, the primary concerns for Appalachian producers were internal parasites (55%), miscellaneous diseases (24%), hoof disease (20%) and nutrition (10%). Internal parasites was a significantly higher concern than the other three (P < 0.001).

St. Kitts small ruminant producers did not list specific diseases in their top four issues. However, their top three specific diseases were internal parasites (76%), ticks (72%) and dermatophilus (36%) (where internal parasites and ticks were significantly more important than dermatophilus, P < 0.05). Whereas, the top three specific diseases for Appalachian producers were helminths (79%), hoof disease (42%) and coccidiosis (29%) (where helminths were significantly more important than hoof disease and coccidiosis, P < 0.05). There was a significant difference in the top disease concerns between the two sites (P < 0.001). Specifically, St. Kitts producers were significantly more concerned with ticks and dermatophilus and Appalachian producers were significantly more concerned with hoof disease and coccidiosis.


Issues facing small ruminant producers may differ substantially based on geographical location. Identifying the major concerns is a first step towards addressing the issues faced by the small ruminant producer. Producers on St. Kitts need help to reduce dog predation and theft, as well as easier means to improve genetics and obtain medications. Producers in Appalachian region (as well as St. Kitts) need assistance with better parasite control and foot health.