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Goats/goat's frequent illness



I have a 4 year old Nubian doe who has been getting sick frequently for about the last 3 months or so. It started out with a bad case of mastitis, but I did clear that up with antibiotics & daily treatments of an antibiotic cream and wrapping.

Last week, she seemed to be developing pneumonia - had a temperature, was lethargic, a little wheezy, and was grinding her teeth. The vet came, gave her a dose of Nuflor and one for me to give 2 days later, prescribed a 5 day treatment of thiamine, prescribed Banamine in case of fever and/or pain, and also probiotics. I did all as prescribed, and while she is better (she is eating, drinking, pooping/peeing normally, no temp), she still seems uncomfortable. She is still grinding her teeth, and her energy level is not restored. She was actually shaking this morning - again, she seems to be in some pain. It is 55 degrees here today, so I don't think she's cold, and I have a coat on her since she has been ill. My vet said she is actually a "wuss", meaning she is not "tough" and tends to get depressed and feel sorry for herself, making matters worse. Still, it is obvious that she isn't well, and I don't know what else to do. He said he had "thrown the kitchen sink" at her with these latest treatments, and he said that she could have a suppressed immune system due to the mastitis being so bad - he suggests that she might never totally recover and I might want to consider having her put down if she can't get past this. I am at the end of my rope and don't know what is wrong with her and what else to do. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions, things perhaps my vet has missed? Have you ever heard of this before?

Any help you could offer would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Mandy Wasserman

ANSWER: Hi there - sorry to hear your vet seems to think you goat is a "wuss".  Do not think he is an experienced goat vet.  It is totally possible she has a low immune system and that needs help.  Re the items he gave to you to use for her I do not use - I like to stick with penicillin injectable, aspirin for fevers (anything over 102.5 is a fever), and yogurt for probiotics.  When a goat is not eating well they also need vitamin B complex with thiamin - human type works very well.

What color are her lower inner eyelids?  Is she up to date on her selenium/E/D?  What is her current temperature?

I would start her on selenium/E/D - this is human type - ten of the 200 mcg selenium tablets, crushed and dissolved in a little hot water; to that add all the oil from a 1000 IU vitamin E capsule and all the oil from an 800 IU vitamin D capsule, mix well and give orally - repeat this dose in 10 days.  Selenium is needed to keep their immune system strong and even if they have selenium in a salt block many goats do not get enough.  I would also start her on vitamin B complex, human type, four times the human dose, again crushed and dissolved in a little hot water, and given orally daily until she is back to looking/being healthy. You can also use zinc and vitamin C to strengthen her immune system - again human type - dosing for human. Would continue with probiotics too on a daily basis.

Re the pneumonia, generally with a pneumonia there is not a fever, but it can happen.  For that penicillin 3 cc/100 pounds intramuscularly twice a day for 7 days along with aspirin for the fever (again, anything over 102.5 is a fever).

Let me know about the questions above.  I may have some other items for you.  Donna

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QUESTION: Thank you for such useful information and advice. In response to your questions, her eyelid color is mid-pink range, maybe a little on the pale pink side. I have not given her a selenium/E/D supplement (other than loose minerals), and her temp this morning was exactly 100 degrees.

I am puzzled with my vet because I think he is pretty experienced with goats, but now I'm not so sure. He told me today to give her Pepto Bismol, thinking that the teeth grinding was indicative of a stomach ache. ??

I am going to CVS right now and am going to get everything you suggested and will start it all this evening. Will any of this upset her stomach? Also, for the zinc and Vitamin C, is that also a daily dose, like the Vitamin B?

Thank you again.

Thanks for the update.  Re the zinc and vitamin C, you can use that as a human dose daily.  None of these would upset the goat's tummy.  Re the grinding, that is from the goat being in pain - it could be from intestinal issues or still having an infection.  Pepto bismol only helps with diarrhea.  She might need more probiotics to keep her rumen functioning well and the vitamin B complex should help with digestion.  You could give her milk of magnesia to coat the stomach.  1/2 cup per 75 pounds body weight every 6 to 8 hours may help with the grinding.  Hope this helps - do keep me posted - 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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