Standard operating procedures for herd health

General procedures

  • The ovine/caprine herd health standard operating procedure applies to all ovine/caprine owned by WSU and defines the minimum preventative herd health.
  • Exceptions to the ovine/caprine herd health SOP must be approved by the IACUC or through veterinary consultation.
  • Before acquisition, consult with veterinary staff to review incoming health status and determine a quarantine, testing and housing plan
  • All veterinary assessments and procedures must be documented in the animal’s medical record.

Introduction of new animals

  • On arrival:
    • Assign an Individual Animal Identification (IACUC SOP #7) and create an Animal Care Medical Record (example pdf) (IACUC Policy #4).
    • Complete a physical exam by a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or trained animal care technician.   
    • Quarantine away from resident animals for at least 2-4 weeks depending on risk factors.   Observe closely for signs of illness and treat as needed. 
    • All animals should be either be dewormed, FEC (fecal egg count) performed, or documentation of deworming within the last 6 months on arrival. See Table 1 for deworming options or consult with a veterinarian. Entrance exam should include observation for external parasites and associated wool/hair loss.
    • Animals intended to incorporate into or be housed near existing flock/herds are required to be tested for Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, and Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis or Ovine Progressive Pneumonia (CAE/OPP) at the time of entry (see WADDL for details on samples to collect). Contact campus veterinary services if you need assistance with coordination of submission. Exception to testing will be made for research sheep/goat that will not be introduced to a flock/herd and are intended for short term housing.
    • Animals intended to incorporate into existing flock/herds or housed >6-8 weeks should be vaccinated on arrival with a CDT (Clostridium perfringens type C and D (overeating disease) and Clostridium tetani (tetanus) unless the animals have documented up to date vaccination history.

Herd health maintenance

  • All assessments and procedures must be documented in the Animal Medical Record.
  • Vaccinate annually with at minimum CDT as directed by the manufacturer or consult a veterinarian if risk factors indicate additional vaccinations.
  • Deworming schedule and choice can be based on frequent FEC surveillance to determine which anthelmintic to use.
  • Dusting should be performed in the spring if external parasites have been noted or hair loss is present.
  • Hoof assessment quarterly and trim the hooves as needed.
  • Sheep with fleece should be sheared at least once a year, preferably in the spring. 

Minor cuts, scrapes or abrasions

  • If a sheep or goat is noted to have minor cuts, wounds or abrasions, the area should be cleaned thoroughly with an antiseptic solution such as chlorhexidine or betadine (or equivalent) and a commercial salve or wound coat applied along with fly spray if in fly season.  This can be done once daily for 2-7 days ensuring that the wound is healing and no worsening.  If at any time the wound is draining or worsening, a veterinarian will need to assess and make a specific plan for the animal.
  • Daily documentation of treatment is necessary either in the form of a treatment sheet or in the medical record


  • Free choice trace mineral (including selenium) salt must be provided as appropriate for the species. Sheep and goats have different requirements for copper supplementation so require different products.
  • Abrupt changes to the diet should be avoided, any changes should be introduced gradually over a period of several days.
  • Feed requirements of each animal should be determined to prevent over or underfeeding.
  • Sheep or goats must have unlimited access to fresh water.

Table 1. Ovine/Caprine Dewormers

DrugDose (mg/kg)*RouteFrequency
Fenbendazole5.0PO (orally)Daily for 3 days
Albendazole7.5PO (orally)Once
Moxidectin0.2-0.5PO (oral drench)Once
*”Sheep & Goat Medicine” D. G. Pugh. 2002



California Department of Food and Agriculture. “Biosecurity of swine, sheep and goat.” Web. <>.

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dement, Angela I., and Frank B. Craddock. “Biosecurity for Sheep and Goat Producers.” Agri Life Extension Texas A & M system. Web.

WSU CAHNRS Animal Agriculture Extension “Small Ruminants”

Effective Date: 11-27-23 NW