Veterinary services to the small, shepherded sheep and goat flocks in the Middle East and Asia are primarily concerned with controlling clinical diseases and improving the survival rate of young lambs and kids. The restricted availability and low nutritional value of feed limit productivity. Sheep and goats are kept primarily as a source of meat and milk for the owner's family and for sale as a source of cash income. Veterinary care is often provided by government programs and is directed toward control of specific contagious and zoonotic diseases. Even though the value of animals in the flock is often high relative to the income of the owner, the funds available to invest in veterinary services are limited. Thus, private veterinary care is seldom used, even if available, despite the fact that the death or severe ill health of a few animals can have a major impact on both the productivity of the flock and the well-being of the owner.
In Asia, the system of land use is often complex, with sheep and goats integrated with other grazing animals or grazing around the fringes of a more productive cropping or plantation enterprise. This may also be true in the Middle East, or sheep and goats may graze poorly productive arid areas that will support little else. In either case, opportunities for major changes to the management system are limited.
Last full review/revision January 2015 by Marie S. Bulgin, DVM, MBA, DACVM