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Goats/Pygmy goats with severe itchy scaly skin


I have 4 pygmy goats who are 2 and 1/2 years old. For the past few months they have been very very itchy and are constantly scratching. The male is the worst and has scaly skin around his eyes and very very scaly skin around his tail base which is thickened and sometimes bleeding where he scratches it with his horns. Under his tail and around his belly is bald. The other 3 have this to a lesser extent, on one its hardly noticeable at all.
They have all been treated with Dectamox injections which has made no difference. There is no sign of any lice or external parasites.
My vet has taken a skin biopsy- orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis with dermatitis with no sign of any parasites.
My vet is thinking either a zinc deficiency ( they have been on a zinc supplement for over a week with no change in signs yet) plus they hate the zinc and its very hard to give OR an allergic skin condition but we don't know what they could be allergic to.
Any help or clues would be greatly appreciated as its so hard to watch them keep scratching and it look horrible.

First off, no dectamax injections for goats.  This sounds more like mange mites - and I would treat for this even if the vet said they could not see any parasites.  Use of a livestock mite powder works well - would use a paste made from the powder with water to spread on affected areas.  Would dust the whole goat and bedding.  Doubt zinc deficiency.  Would also suspect selenium deficiency - this would be ten of the 200 mcg selenium human tablets (crushed and dissolved in a little hot water) and to that mix add all the oil from a 1000 IU vitamin E capsule and all the oil from an 800 IU vitamin D capsule - mix, cool and give orally.  May need to repeat in 10 days.  The dosing is per goat.  You can still treat for possible zinc deficiency, using human zinc tablets - crush one and dissolve in a little hot water and give one orally every day.  In order for human tablets to work they must be crushed and dissolved in liquid as goat's do not use tablets or capsules easily.  

You can also give children's benadryl at one teaspoon every 8 to 12 hours to help with scratching and inflammation.  

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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