Studies on the Pathogenesis of Shimao Zheng (Fleece-eating) in Sheep and Goats

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Research on the disease called shimao zheng, which had resulted in widespread fleece-eating and shedding by sheep and goats in the Haizi area of Akesa County of Gansu Province of China, was carried out by both laboratory studies and pathological observations. There was a marked deficiency of sulfur in the wool and tissues of the affected animals. The pathological changes were mainly loss of fleece, exposure of the skin, keratinization of the epidermal cells, narrowing and reduced numbers of the fleece follicles, and fewer sebaceous glands and sweat glands. Histologically, there was atrophy of the striated and cardiac muscles and of the epithelium of the convoluted tubules of the kidney, together with a glomerulonephritis. The disease was considered to be a local nutritional and metabolic disorder, probably mainly caused by sulfur deficiency.

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