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Goats/Goat can't get up


QUESTION: We have a 4 yr Nigerian dwarf weather.  Due to an injury when he was a kid, he has a lame hind leg, that he will not put weight on.  In August, we noticed he had lost considerable weight, but was still eating and drinking well.  He was able to get up and walk but weaved and when he laid down, his head wobbled-like he was drunk or had a stroke.  Someone suggested he had meningeal worms and we treated him with ivermectin and safeguard.  The wobbling stopped, but in spite of being separated from the heard, he never gained weight.  He has 2 other heard mates, another Nigerian dwarf weather and a pygmy doe-both are fat and happy-they all get the same feed, which is hay and grass and an occasional handful of sweetfeed, plus all the veggie and fruit left overs from the kitchen as well as honeysuckle and tree prunings.  The end of January, we found him lying on his side, unable to get up, bleating pitifully.  We moved him into our kitchen to warm him up.  But he would still not get up-if you picked him up and set him on his feet, he would stay up and walk around for hours.  The vet came, he had no fever, his color was good, he gave him 5 day course of ivermectin and safeguard, and also an injectable steriod (not sure which one).  After 5 days, he finally was able to get up on his own.  He has been in a small pen inside of the larger goat pen s0 he has no competition for food.  He gained some weight-not as much as we expected, but he stopped looking like a skeleton-and was doing fine and getting alot stronger.  Until yesterday.  Now he will not get up on his own again.  He was tested negative for CAE.  The vet did not think it was a dietary issue since all the goats are together, the same age, and eat the same thing and the other 2 are fat, fat, fat.  He is not wobbly at all, just can't get up-he tries though.  As a side note, the other weather has an abscess on his cheek, in line with the corner of his mouth and ear, not on the jaw line at all -it was looked at by the vet who did not think it was a big deal.  It healed on its own, but a new abscess has presented directly next to the old one.  The abscess was not tested for CL.  The sick goat does not have any palpable lumps on him though.  I am at a lose as to how to proceed.  We have not changed his feed at all-so seems if it was a dietary problem, he should not have gotten better with the wormers.  I am not sure if the weight issues and the inability to get up are 2 different problems or not.  Since he has had a hurt leg for a long time, Wondering if a steroid would help him.  Sorry for so much information, but hoping it will provide a clue as to what is wrong with him.  Thank you for your time and help.

ANSWER: I would give him fortified B complex or thiamine, in case it might be polio. Is the vet expert in goats? I think a steroid might help, but he could have just a worsening problem related to past ones. You may have to make the hard decision of having him euthanized if he fails to improve. I know that meningeal worm can cause permanent neurological damage, so perhaps that is it. Sorry for your poor little guy.

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QUESTION: I don't think the vet is a goat expert-he is fresh out of school-but I don't think we have a good goat vet here.  Is the B complex a shot or just the human pill?  How much to give him and how often.  He is down to about 40lbs. Forgot to mention, we do not give them selenium (SP?) vaccinations and live in northeastern maryland.  Should I give the B complex to all the goats.  Thanks again for your help!

I am sorry for the delay. I thought I had answered your question, but it appears I did not. The B complex is a SQ injection. I Give 3 ml to a Nigerian.  Once a day for several days, at least. I would not hurt to give one dose to all goats. It helps with digestion. Good luck.


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Cheryl K. Smith


Goat Health Care; basic goat management. Author of Goat Health Care (2009) and Raising Goats for Dummies (2010)


Publisher of Goat Health Care, I have raised miniature dairy goats since 1998. I published Ruminations, the Nigerian Dwarf and Mini Dairy Goat magazine for 7 years and mentor other goat owners, as I was mentored for my first years.

American Goat Society (AGS), The Miniature Goat Registry (TMGR)

Raising Goats for Dummies (author) Goat Health Care (Editor and Author), Ruminations, Dairy Goat Journal, Issues in Law and Medicine, Topics in Health Records Management, Oregon Bar Bulletin, Midwifery Today, Countryside

BS, Health Information Administration JD, Law

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