Scrapie is a fatal degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. The disease is believed to be caused by an abnormal protein known as a prion, that acts as the infectious and contagious agent. It is in the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).
In the United States, Scrapie has been primarily reported in the Suffolk breed but has been detected in numerous other breeds as well. Only two countries are recognized by the U.S. as being free of Scrapie: Australia and New Zealand.
Signs and Symptoms
- behavioral changes
- tremor of head and neck
- scratching and rubbing against fixed objects
- lack of coordination
- weight loss despite retention of appetite
- biting of feet and limbs and lip smacking
- gait abnormalities, including high–stepping of the forelegs, hopping like a rabbit, and swaying of the back end