Health and Welfare of Indigenous Goat Breeds from Dairy Farms in Greece

  • Athanasios I. Gelasakis
  • Georgios E. Valergakis
  • Georgios Arsenos


We address the dairy production system, health indicators, and welfare status of the goat industry in Greece. Initially, we describe the dominant production systems with their major trends and challenges for Greek goat herds’ sustainability and we characterize the most prevalent indigenous goat breeds. Afterward, we emphasize on health and welfare implications in low-input farming systems as they are determined by environmental exposure, housing and husbandry conditions, and the behavior of goats reared under these systems. Then, we summarize the most significant infectious and parasitic diseases and we describe them. We underline the significance of paratuberculosis, colibacillosis, contagious agalactia, clostridial diseases, pasteurellosis, scrapie and major endoparasites (trematodes, cestodes, and nematodes) and ectoparasites (flies, mange, ticks, and fleas). In the next section, we discuss the most suitable animal-based indicators to assess health and welfare status in goat farms and we present the results from a prospective epidemiological study regarding the prevalence and the incidence of the main health and welfare problems, on individual goat level in low-input goat herds. We conclude that among the factors undermining health and welfare status in goat herds in Greece, the most challenging ones include climatic change, weather exposition, inadequate feeding and water supply, inappropriate infrastructures and housing, infectious and parasitic diseases, as well as lack of farmers’ education and training on aspects regarding preventive medicine, herd health management, and human–animal relationship.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Athanasios I. Gelasakis
    • 1
  • Georgios E. Valergakis
    • 2
  • Georgios Arsenos
    • 2
  1. 1.Veterinary Research Institute of Thessaloniki, ELGO-DemeterThermi, ThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Laboratory of Animal Husbandry, School of Veterinary MedicineAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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