Asotin County Conservation District (ACCD) is leading a public outreach and education program in an effort to promote the health of domestic sheep and goats, and reduce the risk of pneumonia outbreaks in bighorn sheep in Hells Canyon.
We are in a unique region where bighorn sheep habitat overlaps with areas grazed by sheep and goats, as well as hobby animals kept as pets by landowners. ACCD is working with a team of agency, industry, and private partners to have conversations with the public about this disease and develop solutions to preserve two of the region’s icons; sheep and goat production, and bighorn sheep.
Pneumonia in bighorn sheep can cause up to a 90% mortality rate in bighorn sheep lambs. This can continue to occur in a bighorn sheep herd for several years and ultimately results in significant population loss. In domestic sheep and goats, the disease varies from no symptoms to mild pneumonia, though deaths are seen occasionally in newly exposed herds. Research shows that lambs from flocks free of the disease have slightly higher weaning weights and carcass yield than lambs from positive flocks.
Our outreach program offers free, confidential disease screening for domestic sheep and goats, as well as working with owners to develop farm specific herd health and biosecurity programs, and encouraging the use of bighorn sheep deterrents such as electric fencing and livestock guardian dogs.
You can help to promote awareness of the disease risk to bighorn sheep by encouraging conversations with people in your region, and domestic sheep and goat owners can take advantage of free biosecurity and pneumonia pathogen testing. We are more than happy to visit with you about the details of this project- you can reach our office at 509-552-8117 or [email protected]