Grad Student Feature: Jeanette Cooper and the Small Ruminant Adult Mortality Project


OVC Master’s student Jeannette Cooper discusses the “Distance support for investigation into adult small ruminant mortalities” project she has been working on alongside Drs. Andria Jones-Bitton, Jocelyn Jansen, Paula Menzies, Sherilee Harper, and Maria Spinato.

For more information on this project, please visit

OAHN Small Ruminant Research Project 1: Distance support for on-farm investigation of adult small ruminant mortalities

Project Lead:        Dr. Maria Spinato
Collaborators:      Dr. Paula Menzies, Dr. Andria Bitton-Jones, Dr. Jocelyn Jansen, Ms. Jeanette Cooper

Little is known about causes of mortality in adult sheep and goats, likely because of a lack of investigation into adult deaths and limited postmortem technique when an investigation does occur. The “Distance support for on-farm investigation of adult small ruminant mortalities” project was developed to investigate which diseases cause mortality in Ontario’s sheep and goat populations. An on-line tool was designed to encourage postmortem submission and to assist in improving the technique of veterinarians performing on-farm postmortems for adult animals. To date, 48 postmortem cases have been submitted through the project, with only 7 cases remaining undiagnosed. Diagnoses in sheep include: nasal tumours, copper toxicity, and hemonchosis, among many others.

Focus groups are now being arranged with veterinarians and producers who have submitted a postmortem using the on-line tool.