The following conclusions are drawn from the
main work of the investigation.
1. Pine disease in the Cheviot region is a,
nutritional anaemia caused by nineral deficiency in
the soil or herbage of affected areas resulting in
defective iron metabolism.
2. The disease occurs in an endemic form on the
Andesite formation in the East Borders. Both hill
land and arable land are involved. The affected district covers an area of approximately 80 square
miles and carries 40,000 head of sheep..
3. There is evidence that the disease first
attained serious proportions in the Cheviot region
about the beginning of the nineteenth century. This
was due to far-reaching changes in the system of sheep
husbandry, and in sheep- breeding in particular. It
is probable that the local races of sheep were
formerly resistant to the malady. This view is
supported by the fact that native sheep are maintained
on pining land in Scotland at the present day without
a change of pasture. the problem therefore has a genetic aspect which appears to offer scope for enquiry.
4. The disease is not due to iron deficiency.
5. The administration of minute quantities of
cobalt prevents the occurrence of the disease on.
pining land and also acts as a cure. The beneficial
results obtained from the feeling of iron compounds
are attributable to traces of cobalt in the materials
6. Small quantities of phosphorus, free from
cobalt, are of curative and preventive value. The
feeding of phosphorus compounds only, gives successful
results in practice. A deficiency in this element is
regarded as a predisposing cause of the malady.
Both phosphorus and cobalt are presumably lacking
in sufficient quantity from the produce of pining soil
The precise significance of cobalt in animal nutrition,
apart from its potency in assisting the utilisation. of
iron, is unknown,
7. Experimental evidence shows that no effect is
produced by the administration of traces of copper to
8. The condition is primarily one of mineral
deficiency. The influence of parasitic infestation
of the digestive tract is entirely secondary. The
treatment of pining sheep for mineral deficiency alone,
with materials that possess no known anthelminthic
properties, is successful in well over 95 per cent of
cases. This applies equally to animals which are
mildly affected, and those which are in an alvanced
stage of the malady.
9. The disease has a close similarity with bush
sickness in New Zealand, enzootic marasmus in Western
Australia, coast disease in South Australia, and
certain pining diseases in other countries. It
appears to be different in origin from salt sickness
in Florida and lecksucht in Holland.
10. In the Border Counties, the nutritional
anaemia represented by pine disease is not confined to
the Andesite formation. it is manifested in various
forms under diverse conditions of soil and of sheep-husbandry. These various types are as follows: -
(1) An endemic for of the :disease is found on the
Andesite and also in localised areas on many other
geological formations in the Border Area. This form
occurs both in hill an:i in arable districts. (2) A
sporadic type is liable ' <o occur in a proportion of
the flock on any hill farm, following a severe winter
luring which the stock have become debilitated.
(3) A type of anaemia associated with pregnancy, and
also prevalent among small lambs after weaning, is
found in flocks in all districts, both hill and
arable, and on all types of soil.
All of these types respond to the same treatment
as nine disease on the Andesite.
11. It is probable that the low content of available
phosphorus in many soils in the area has some connection
with the occurrence of these anaemias.
12. It is suggested that these various forms of
anaemia ray be widely distributed in other parts of
13. The system of mineral feeding worked out
Luring the course of this investigation has been used
upon thousands of sheep with markedly beneficial
results. apart from its effect upon pine disease or
anaemia, it has other advantages. There is a decrease in the proportion of tup-eild ewes, and an
appreciable increase in the number of twin lambs.
There is a reduction in the rate of abortion, and, in
lowland flocks, the incidence of pregnancy toxaemia is
lessened. 'Deaths among ewes are reduced. Lambs
make bettor progress while nursing.
14. In practice, pine disease and allied conditions
can be prevented, and some of the above advantages
secured, by an annual outlay of one penny per