Goats/Goat Illness


QUESTION: Our goat is approx 8 years old.  We have noticed in the last few days that she is not interested in food and it appears she may have mucus in her droppings.

We do give them medicated food for worms.  Any advice on what to do?

ANSWER: What is her temperature?  Anything over 102.5 indicates a fever/infection.  She could have a pneumonia.  Is she drinking water? Is she moving around normally?  Any poisonous plants in her pasture/paddock?  Have you changed the feed she has been on?  Any fungus in her feed/grain? Are her droppings pelleted?  Are there any ponds or other water sources in her pasture? If she is not eating well I would start her on vitamin B complex (has B1/thiamin in it) - use of four times the human dosage twice a day - crush and dissolve in a little hot water, cool and give orally.  I would also start her on penicillin injectable, intramuscular, 3 cc/100 pounds body weight twice a day for 5 days - use of a 20 gauge 3/4 inch needle for the injection using the thigh/gaskin muscle of the rear legs works well - have you give intramuscular injections before?  You can usually get the penicillin at farm/feed stores.  She will also need probiotics during the time she is on the antibiotics - I use yogurt - about two tablespoons for an adult goat given twice a day - you can mix with a little water to thin and give as an oral drench.  This could be a pneumonia or another infection or even worms with the mucous in the droppings - I generally advise against medicated wormer in feed as it does not help and you never know exactly how much they are getting/usually not enough - I can give you another regimen for worming if you'd like.  

Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: We have not taken her temperature.  This is the first time in all these years that one of our goats has been ill.  We only have the 2.  She is moving around normally.  No poisonous plants and no change in feed.  Her droppings are pelleted.  No ponds on pasture.  We have used SafeGuard in the past for worming.

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  Pneumonia (not always with a fever or difficulty breathing) or worms can cause her symptoms.  Because it is often difficult to tell (even with blood tests and other testing) what is wrong with a goat it is always my advice to treat with the "kitchen sink method" - you treat for a number of possible items with none of the treatments causing harm to the goat.  I would start with the penicillin along with the vitamin B complex (lack of enough thiamin in the goat's system which is caused from not eating well or at all, can cause a secondary illness of poliomyencephalomalaceia), along with the probiotic.  Is she in otherwise good condition - not fat or thin?  What color are her lower inner eyelids?  

Re the wormers I use - the regimen is use of Safeguard and Zimectrin oral horse wormers, switching between the two once every 2 months.  You use twice the body weight of the goat to find the slightly higher number/measurement on the plunger of the wormer tube, place the lock and give orally.  2 months later you repeat this process but switch to the other wormer.  

Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: We have gotten the SafeGuard and some penicillin so we will administer both tonight.  We have never given any injections - any advice?

How do you give them the yogurt?

I would definitely also give the vitamin B complex - this is just human vitamins - crush, dissolve in a little hot water (you can add the yogurt to this combination adding a little more water to make the mixture thin enough to give as an oral drench).  I use an oral drenching syringe, but you can use a turkey baster or even a large syringe (20 gauge/just no needle of course).  Re the injections - draw up the penicillin in a syringe (appropriate amount for her weight and you don't have to be exact on her weight), standing on one side or the other of the goat at her rear area, pinch the thigh muscle just a little so it stands out more for you (it is a fairly large muscle) and then insert the needle (you'll be putting the needle in the back of the muscle with the needle pointing towards the front of the goat) into the muscle, then pull back just a slight amount (really just a little bit) on the plunger to be sure you are not in a vein (the small length of the needle generally keeps this from happening but check anyway) - if you are in a vein blood/red color will immediately rush into the barrel, if clear then inject the penicillin - should go in easily and quickly then.  If you do see blood just pull out, squeeze out the penicillin/blood mixture into the garbage and re draw up new penicillin (you can use the same syringe and same needle).  The goat will usually jump at the needle prick.  Having a helper hold the goat will usually help.

Hope this helps - do let me know, thanks - 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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