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Goats/Goat with Persistent Cough


QUESTION: We assumed our buck (11 months old) had caught pneumonia/upper respiratory infection from his best goat pal and treated him with penicillin, probios, and vit. B complex. When penicillin did not work, the vet suggested a switch to biomycin which we did and continued probios and vit. B. He was wormed once in the last week with valbazen at 1ml/25 lbs oral when we suggested the buck's mucous membranes were a light pink. He still has the cough. His temp is 100.9 in am and 102.8 in pm. There is no swelling in his neck and no diarrhea that we've seen. He eats, drinks, plays, and coughs. He coughs every so often throughout the night and day whether standing, sleeping, sitting, or running.  We would like to re-treat for worms, but are worried that he could have a high load of worms and could react strongly to wormer.  

Can you suggest a treatment path to take? Is it possible he has a pine needle or something kind of stuck in his throat? We currently have access to safeguard for goats, valbazen, ivomec 1% injectable, and ivomec plus injectable. Of which we've only used the safeguard and now, the one dose this past week of valbazen. Thank you!

ANSWER: Generally pneumonia is not contagious - it is an illness that a goat gets from stress and immune system decrease.  Why did you assume he had a pneumonia?  When a goat has a pneumonia or a bronchitis the goat generally does not eat or drink, is lethargic, may or may not have a fever, may or may not have a cough.  When you are looking to see if a goat is anemic that is found in the lower inner eyelids and if they are very light pink to white then the goat is anemic and that is generally caused by either the barber pole worm or liver flukes.  And these are generally best taken care of by use of Safeguard horse wormer/oral wormer with special dosing - let me know and I can give you that dosing.  What does his poop look like - if it is regular pelleted poop then he does not have regular intestinal worms.  And, as an aside, I don't use Valbazen for goats or ivomec whether injectable or oral.  A fever is generally anything over 102.5 but 102.8 does not sound like a fever as he is otherwise eating, drinking, normal, etc.  Now to the cough - what type of hay is he on - is it dusty?  Is he in a dusty pasture? Do you use cedar shavings in his shelter? What type of other feed is he on? This could be just a reaction to dusty feed or conditions.  This could be also an allergic reaction to something.  Re the mucous membranes being light pink, light to rose pink is fine - dusky gray or white is bad.  Hope this helps - let me know re my questions and I will get back to you - Donna

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QUESTION: Thank you for your reply. We assumed he had pneumonia because the vet said so, but we are learning that some vets aren't as familiar with goat care as we had hoped. When his cough did not improve with treatment we thought allexperts' experience could be more helpful. To answer your questions, no dusty hay, no dusty pasture, no cedar. The boys are fed dumor goat pellets #not the sweet version#, free choice minerals with ammonium chloride, and mixed grasses hay #plus plenty of fresh water daily#. They have access to pasture and lightly wooded areas daily and sleep inside their barn at night. We do not rotate pastures as of yet. His mucous membranes are lighter than usual and poops are pelleted. Nothing new has been added or changed before or during the development of his cough other than the weather has alternated between warm and very cold. We would like to know about how to treat barber pole/ liver flukes with Safeguard horse wormer and any advice you would like to give on wormers in general. Thank you for your help!

ANSWER: Thanks for the info.  You said the mucous membranes are a light color - is that the mouth membranes or the inner lower eyelid membranes? If the inner lower eyelids are light to white then the goat is probably anemia and would need treatment for both what is the cause of the anemia and the anemia itself - anemia can cause a cough or allow a goat to have a chronic cough from a cold because its immune system is not working well.  The other item that can cause a cough in a goat is lung worms - did not mention that previously.  By using the Safeguard horse wormer using three times the body weight of the goat to find the dosing on the plunger and given once a week for three weeks that generally takes care of both lung worms and the barber pole worm.  

Re wormers - we use an every two month regimen - switching between Safeguard oral horse wormer and Zimectrin oral horse wormer - you use twice the body weight of the goat to find the dosage on the plunger where you set the lock at.  You start with one wormer and 2 months later switch to the other wormer, and so on.  For kid goats starting at 2 months of age and up to perhaps 9 months to a year where you could not find the dosing on the plunger with their weight being small, use of 1/2 inch of the wormer works well - you just push out 1/2 inch amount onto a finger and then place that amount on the tongue of the goat.  

Hope this helps - Donna

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QUESTION: Thank you Donna!
For our buck, it's his inner lower eyelid membranes. We have been fortunate to not have heavy worm loads until now. We will treat our buck as recommended and see if this is the problem. If it is, we will start a more proactive approach. One of the worm issues we don't understand is the how long do you wait to know if a wormer is not working for your goats? And a final question, when do you have to worry about worms causing bleeding (read that somewhere online) when they are killed by the wormers? Thank you very much for dosing amounts and any other advice you might have about wormers!

Thanks for the info.  Okay, so it sounds like the buck has anemia and this is caused from either the barber pole worm or liver flukes.  It is possible for a huge intestinal worm load to cause anemia, but this would be huge and you would have seen dog poop type poop as well as weight loss.  Re the wormer not working, I advise watching the goat poop - if pelleted that generally indicates the goat does not have intestinal worms, once the goat poop turns to dog poop type then that indicates intestinal worms.  The barber pole worm and liver flukes are different than regular intestinal worms.  I have kept all of our goats, horses, cattle, sheep on the worming regimen of every 2 months switching between Safeguard and Zimectrin for the 28 years we have been raising livestock and have never had issues with resistance.  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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