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Goats/6-7 year old mixed breed nanny


QUESTION: Hi. We have a 6 to 7 year old nanny goat that has developed, in a very short time, stiff rear legs. She cannot get up under her own power because of this. The day before this occurred, she would not eat. She is not eating or drinking on her own, although she is being given water by syringe dropper frequently. She was given an antibiotic and dewormer late yesterday evening and still has not improved. What could be wrong with her and what do we need to do to help her?

Thank you.

ANSWER: What is her temperature?  Anything over 102.5 would indicate an infection.  Are her legs hot or swollen?  Was she changed to a different feed regimen just before the symptoms occurred?  How high of protein is she on? What antibiotic did you start?  What dewormer did you start? To keep her from getting dehydrated she would need at least 2 to 4 cups of electrolytes or water every 2 to 4 hours - an oral drenching syringe or turkey baster works best.  Any injuries to her back legs that you can see?  Is she peeing and pooping?  Is she drooling at all or is her head turned in a certain direction?

She could have listeriosis, or leptospirosis, or pneumonia, or laminitis.  

Would start her on penicillin at 3 cc/100 pounds body weight twice a day for 7 days.  Because she is not eating she also should have vitamin B complex human tablets - 8 tablets crushed and dissolved in a little hot water, cooled and given orally twice a day.  She also must have probiotics while on antibiotics, daily.  Would also give her one 325 mg human aspirin per 75 pounds of body weight every 4 hours.  This also should be crushed and dissolved in a little hot water, cooled and then given orally.  I would start all of these items right away.  Have you given intramuscular injections before?  This is the best way, in the thigh muscles, to give the penicillin - use of a 20 gauge 3/4 to 1 inch needle works best.  

If you let me know the answers to the questions I will try and give you a more specific diagnosis.  Thanks - Donna

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QUESTION: Hi. Her feed regimen was not changed at all. I didn't notice any extra heat in her legs or swelling. Protein is low amount-not sure exactly what that is. Did not notice any injuries of any kind. Yes, she is peeing and pooping. No drooling currently. She is not turning her head in a certain direction, although she is unable to hold it up.

Thanks for the update.  If her protein level is 16% that is high just for everyday use and can cause founder/laminitis where the rear legs are usually affected first, but with that said it is usually accompanied by swelling and warmth.  If she had any contact with raccoons or opossums or other wild creatures and even if they drank her water or peed somewhere she picked up the grass, that could be leptospirosis.  It is also possible that this is just a pneumonia and she is weak, and weakness usually goes to the rear legs first.  She also could have an infection from a specific deer worm which can cause paralysis in goats.  Since we do not know exactly what the issue is I usually advise use of "kitchen sink method" where you give items for all different possibilities (none that would hurt the goat) and see how it does on them. My best guess would be either pneumonia or meningeal deer worm - do you have any wet areas around your property or do you have deer on your property at times?  Did you notice the goat itching at all over the past week or two weeks.  Are there any leathery patches behind the front legs of the goat?

I would start the regimen above and would also start her on a course of ivermectin - I advise use of Zimectrin (or a generic type that has the 1.87% ivermectin in it) using three times the weight of the goat to find the doseage on the plunger - this is an oral horse wormer - you place the lock on the next dosage higher than for the weight, lock in place and give orally.  You would repeat this once a week for three weeks.  Re the penicillin injections - you need to draw back on the plunger just a bit once the needle is in to be sure you are not in a vein (blood will run quickly into the barrel), if that happens you need to pull out of the muscle and dispose of the blood/penicillin mix and then refill with new penicillin.  Goats can be very allergic to antibiotics in their veins.  

Hope this helps - let me know - Donna  


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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.


27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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